Hearne: It’s Time for Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt to ‘Man Up’

Carolina Panthers v Kansas City ChiefsWhat’s with all the press releases?

It’s time for Chiefs “owner” Clark Hunt to dispense with all the carefully-worded, written statements, come out of hiding and communicate openly with Chiefs fans face-to-face.

That’s how his father, Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt played the game.

Lamar Hunt was an open book when it came to dealing with the public and the media. He made himself available for interviews by phone and or in person on a regular basis. He actually took or returned reporter’s phone calls.

lamar-hunt-kcchiefs-smWhen Hunt’s Wizards won the MLS Cup he even agreed to allow me into his owners’s box at RFK Stadium to take photos, notes and ask questions for the entire game. When the Wizards won, I followed him one-on-one down to the field to celebrate with the team and into the locker room afterwards.

There was none of this control freak secrecy that’s marked the Clark Hunt’s tenure at the team the past six years since Lamar died.

Lamar understood that for an out-of-town owner to bond with Kansas Citians, he needed to be up front and let locals get to know him – or at least feel like they did.

Does anybody in Kansas City – the sports media included – truly feel like they have anything approaching an open relationship with Clark Hunt?

nfl_g_clark-hunt_mb_400I seriously doubt it.

Remember when Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer left town under a cloud following his high profile alleged affair with a waitress at Tanner’s in Overland Park?

The Chiefs didn’t take the hush-hush, press release statement approach to the extremely awkward, difficult situation. They met it head on for all to see and took questions from the media at a live event.

Contrast that with the firing today of Chiefs GM Scott Pioli.

What did we get?

A phony-baloney written statement from Clark saying Pioli has been an “invaluable” member of the Chiefs since his arrival in 2009.

Really?

Anybody who thinks Pioli’s woeful track record here is “invaluable” would have to be an idiot. Would Hunt have uttered those words before a gallery of reporters who might ask him to explain how Pioli had been “invaluable?”

N1A_23sbhuntSimilarly, Pioli limited his exit speech to a written statement. A statement in which the first person he thanked was Lamar Hunt’s widow Norma – Clark’s mom. Not Clark, his mom.

I’ve known Norma Hunt for more than 30 years and can’t think of a single area of managing the Chiefs she’s ever been involved with. She’s a former school teacher.

Was she the one who oversaw the hiring of Pioli?

Is she the one – as Hunt’s widow – who now wears the corporate pants by virtue of having inherited the team? Where were her written statements?

It’s high time for Clark Hunt to step up and start acting like the owner of an NFL team if he intends to be taken seriously.

And stop hiding behind press releases.

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7 Responses to Hearne: It’s Time for Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt to ‘Man Up’

  1. harley says:

    come on hearne…this is the way corporate america works.
    Clark was born into the money. So was lamar. But lamar had to work.
    Clark just counts the dough.
    Lamar understood what it was like when he moved the team to kcand
    he had to go out and sell tickets…sell the city…shake hands with people..
    excite them about this new football team…build a team…build a brand…
    lamar did it with daddy’s money but he was out in the city selling this
    afl team.
    Clark didn’t have to do that. Pop dies and clark takes over. No having to
    beg fans to buy tickets…no going to rotary to sell the audience on football…
    no clark has never had to do taht.
    And besides hearne corporate america is out for one thing…MONEY…EVERY
    LAST DIME THEY CAN MAKE……..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
    SO forget about clark apologizing…or norma coming on and saying she made
    a misteake…when you’re a billionaire you don’t make mistakes…and you
    never admit them.
    Just the way of the world today.
    They run a business…they owe you and me no apologies. They are there to make
    a profit. They’re not here to entertain us or make us cheer. They’re just like
    wal mart… out to get every last dime from the publics wallet.
    But the chiefs are subsidized by taxpayers. Where were all the politicians
    and why did they allow clark to continue to be subsidized by taxpayer dollars
    when he wasn’t spending his share. Where was the jackson county legislators
    when they should have been pounding on clarks door telling him to get this
    team turned around? well…they were in the suites sipping wine and caviar.
    Just like the restof the politicians who have given away 200 billion dollars a year
    in tax payer money to corp00orate america.
    Clark owes you nothing hearne. EXcpet to try to con you into going to a football
    game. Clark s given nothing to kansas city…personally nothing.
    Its all in dallas where everything is “hunt”
    sorry hearne…if you’re waiting for something from hunt…you’ll be waiting
    til hell freezes over.

    • HC says:

      Hey, Clark can hide behind his PR shills all he wants and clearly that’s what some owners do. But with a track record as bad as Hunt’s and practically zero identity in KC (other than bad), it would behoove him to make at least some effort at establishing a relationship with the public.

      Clearly he’s no Mark Cuban, but Kansas City is a very personality-driven town. Look how poorly former KC baseball club owner Charlie Finley was perceived. Then look how beloved Ewing Kaufman was. Lamar never made it to Mr. K levels but was farly highly regarded.

      If Clark Hunt wants to establish a rapport with Kansas City and build some sort of legacy, he needs to come out of hiding and let us get to know him.

      • harley says:

        the world has changed (heard taht before)…and ewing
        did it as a philanthropic deal…set up the school where
        he could send prospects…paid salaries that at that time
        were considered way too high…
        ewing lived here. breathed here. He wasinto all kinds
        of charity events…PERSONALLY!!!!
        the hunts aren’t. The only charity deals they do are thru
        the chiefs…go to dallas hearne…and they have their
        name all over the place. What has hunts name here..
        any charity…any building…any chairty program…i can’t
        think of any but hopefully someone else can.
        All the money goes to dallas…thats where the hunts
        hangand spend all the money that they get out of kc.
        They used taxmoney to pay their bills…any outrage there.
        IT IS …WHAT IT IS…
        clark owes kc nothing…he owed the taxpayers for funding
        his stadium and his upgrades…but his like many other
        corporate entities is “WE GET OURS…you get what’s left”..
        jackson county is having tough financial times…they gave
        hunt that stadium.
        As i said…clark willmake changes and hopefully the team
        improves. Maybe a playoff next year.
        but hearne his stature here in kc will only rise if the
        chiefs do well…just like lamars. People cussed at lamar
        when the team did a slide ….they’ll cuss at clark if the
        team doesn’t improve…PRETTYSIMPLE CONCEPT.
        don’t expect anything
        to change…hunts love dallas and they will continue to
        take all the money from here and put it in dallas…
        don’t hold your breath….

  2. Rick Nichols says:

    I had Wizards season tickets for five years (1997-2001) and on more than one occasion took as my guest a relatively young man who was a huge Chiefs fan but was cognitively challenged and had some speech issues to boot. I’ll never forget the evening when we spotted Lamar Hunt at the edge of the lower deck concourse out at Arrowhead and were able to talk with him alone for at least a couple of minutes. Mr. Hunt was very patient with my friend and treated him like a real human being as he conversed with him. What I witnessed was certainly a tribute to the man’s character, and Clark would do well to emulate his father in this regard as much as possible.

  3. Wizard says:

    I spotted Lamar Hunt pick up a piece of trash off the ground and place it in a trash can before a Wizards game at Arrowhead. Talk about doing the little things.

  4. Kerouac says:

    “It seems to me I’ve heard this song (and dance) before, it’s from an old familiar score” are the song lyrics from an old standard. Or if you prefer an (slightly) updated version, “Deja vu – could you be the dream that I once knew.” GM Scott Pioli’s exit and Romeo Crennel’s same is reminiscent of another setting here KC, four years ago.

    January 2009, just change the names: enter Pioli & Haley, exit Peterson & Edwards. 2013: enter Andy Reid & another sure-fire savior GM, name tbd. Viola. Same fervor. Same hype. Same expectation. Deja vu.

    Four years hence, same result?

    Who can say.

    While I’d prefer Clark Hunt act less like Garbo & Andy Reid look less like Bluto, what I’d really like to see is ‘results’ on the field instead of off, not how high the Chiefs rank in NFL attendance and how low in cap spending, or how disappointed ownership is ad nauseam, season aft decade aft win-less post-seasons numbering two decades.

    Get it right – results football, in this (cliche alert) ‘performance based business’ so goes the party line. The calendar turns & seasons pass, players, coaches & excuses to match.

    I haven’t been truly impressed with a Chiefs team since 1971 in all honesty, every one since has been missing some ingredient or another – 40 + years wandering in the NFL wilderness on display, results that haven’t been special since Hank Stram days. Ironic in that Stram was fired aft but ‘one’ losing season in his final 11, 1963-1974 – odd even in that Lamar Hunt is excoriated for having been ‘too loyal’ (maybe as to the bu$ine$$ aspect and facilitators said, Steadman/Peterson.)

    What about Marty Schottenheimer? ‘I’ for incomplete. His missing ingredient was the QB almost always (and on occasion a kicker.) Not good enough, but better than the guy before him. An also ran. Enter Andy Reid.

    Reid is a younger, slightly more successful Schottenheimer as to results. That is to say, Reid also ran – to five NFC Championship Games & a Superbowl. Nice, no cigar. It may just be Chiefs fans are so tired of recent results that they will embrace anything better, which Reid appears to be based on his past record. Good enough to win the Superbowl however? If he couldn’t win a World Championship in Philadelphia in 14 seasons, what be the evidence that points to said happening in KC?

    That all remains to be seen, in closing I say this: there was a time, once upon a, that the Chiefs were ‘pacesetters’ in all things – on the field AND off. They did not follow, they led. From Stram’s genius schemes to George Toma’s most beautiful on the field designs to annual expectation post season rather an hope. Maybe those of us around then got spoiled, but if you were around 1966 – 1971, Kansas City Chiefs-dom today pales in comparison.

    It all started going downhill (‘corporate’ as Stram wrote in his book) with the move to Arrowhead, 1972, but that’s for another in-depth blog. Suffice to say, ‘egos’ played an part, including ‘The Mentor’ Stram’s, no less so Steadman’s and Lamar Hunt’s, $ign$ dancing in heads and on bottom line. Some things never change perhaps, Clark, Pioli, et al present day.

    Football took a back seat and all the excuses piled on high since cannot refute said, nor the record: Chiefs football has been afterthought compared the good old days in terms success. A brief resurgence (more like a whimper) on the field the 90′s did not mollify; until ‘how business’ is done changes, success the gridiron will not, likely ever. Perhaps recent developments signal that change; only proof will be a Hunt Trophy followed by a Lombardi same.

  5. Super Dave says:

    Hearne get Kerouac to write for you to fill empty spot