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The false narrative of Gayle Benson’s interest to sell the Pelicans is somewhere in between ignorant and intentional

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Published: March 27, 2019

“There is no way I am going to sell that team ever,” Pelicans owner Gayle Benson

It’s just been a little over a full calendar year since Tom Benson died and current New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson is still having to answer questions about whether or not she will sell her NBA franchise, despite little evidence that should point anyone to believe she would ever entertain such an idea.

How and why does a false narrative get promoted, and worse, accepted so much by both members of the media and the general public?

For one, there is always some motivation from those who live in the land of major markets to paint pictures of doom for superstars playing in small markets just for the sake of disruption. Honestly, the method works as it appears these narratives are now a concern for Anthony Davis who has now expressed his desire to be traded from the Pelicans, despite the team being one of the better postseason competitors in the Western Conference a season ago.

In this process, we’ve seen how powerful the media market of Los Angeles is. When they decide to make you a target, a large portion of a league’s fans will believe a skewed version of your story. The lines get drilled into people’s minds like the worst kind of cult pledge.

It also seems that to champion the quest to return the NBA to Seattle is a way for many fans and media members alike look like some basketball good guys. Though they never went out on a limb to criticize the league for the Sonics’ controversial relocation from Seattle to Oklahoma City, calling for a path in which a city that doesn’t really “deserve” a team gives up theirs to the home of Starbucks makes it look like they are fighting for the “right” cause.

Ever since the NBA secured the New Orleans market through temporary ownership until they found new owners in Tom and Gayle Benson, the Pelicans have been the target. No matter what the facts are, everything the Pelicans do that does not translate to wins will be used for Seattle virtue signaling. For the lemmings of the world, if you say things that sound like they make sense then it translates to fact.

So if we fast-forward to today, the focus is on the boss, Gayle Benson, in her first full year of sole ownership, especially now that we are absolutely certain that the Pelicans are entering a future without Davis.

Despite the fact that the Benson family drama between the grandchildren and Tom and Gayle has been settled, there these unspoken suggestions out there that Gayle may be in over her head like this inevitable scenario wasn’t something that has been in preparation for at least over a decade.

Unlike the Saints, the Pelicans had loads more work to do to become re-established in a post-Katrina effort, a stance the NBA has made clear in a crowd that chooses to ignore. The first real step was to find stable ownership. With the Pelicans being a future investment for the Bensons, the City of New Orleans, and the NBA; it should be obvious the future has always been Gayle. Tom Benson always made that clear, and he always made it clear that hers was the loudest voice when it came to a purchase decision.

The narrative that Gayle is a clueless “gold digger” was created by the legal team of her grandchildren in a battle for the future of the Benson empire. Too many have kept that narrative alive with no more evidence than the fact that she is a lady who was once married to a very wealthy man.

Some, including members of professional media, appear to be okay with the gold digger narrative simply because Gayle did not have a highly publicized profile to those outside of New Orleans. This is all totally unfair to Gayle. However, even if the national stage was unaware, the folks down south did know how prominent Gayle was in the family business over the last several years as she was there in every meeting and moment in recent years.

On the same day Tom Benson died, NFL insider Jason La Confora suggested in the Tweet seen above that Gayle would consider selling the Pelicans for “tax” reasons with no evidence or explanation. Bill Simmons, noted Boston Celtics and Anthony Davis fan, referred to Gayle as “that widow” on The Russillo Show and insinuated that she was a gold digger, saying she “had no credentials”.

I get framing your favorite narrative, but why on a personal level? Why her? And why is she not celebrated for being one of four women that is an NFL owner and one of four women that is an NBA owner? This a huge role and she was there every step of the way staring down Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Rich Paul, and Magic Johnson as they tried to strongarm her franchise.

She was gracious enough to let Dell Demps take his Davis project as far as it could go and battle worn enough to let him go when it ended.

In my mind, Gayle has already displayed tough leadership and the right stuff to carry out their plans for the franchise that were drawn up years ago. Yet, again, a year later, she is still answering questions about a team sale.

All the while, Gayle has handled it like a boss. She’s smiled and continues to work and stay engaged. She has also laughed off the haters, as she should.

If history proves anything, it’s those who are underestimated who disrupt the status quo the most.

 

 

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