Thursday, March 8, 2012

Guest Post: Reclaiming Our Voice and Demanding a Trade

[Because I feel that the "CBJ Fan Protest" is an important development in the public dialogue involving the Columbus Blue Jackets, I invited one of the organizers, @CapnCorneliusto offer some thoughts on the protest, its goals and activities going forward.  In addition, I asked him to provide information for those who wish to get more involved. -- DBJ]


Last week as Jackets fans we discovered that our team’s star player demanded a trade, or, rather, asked that the Jackets “consider” trading him.  The following day Rick Nash spoke and told us that he had determined that being traded would be best for the team.  In each case, a lot of lip service was paid to us while neither the team’s management nor its star seemed to be completely honest with us.

The fans of this team, for their part, have been speaking with a loud voice since January.  A voice that has been largely ignored.  That voice was again evidenced over the last week with many chanting “Fire Scott Howson!” and “Fire Mike Priest!”  at Nationwide Arena and carrying signs to similar effect.

When myself and the other organizers of the CBJ Fan Protest created For A New Start (F.A.N.S.), we did so to give a voice to Jackets fans who have become fed up with the mismanagement of the Columbus Blue Jackets on and off the ice.  The idea was born from the open mic portion of the CBJ Fan Protest where many fans came up and shared their personal stories with one another.  This week, we are turning the volume knobs up to 11 so that we can all have our voices heard again.

The mission of F.A.N.S. is to restore and maintain the franchise's honor by demanding (1) accountability from ownership, management, players, and all other parties associated with the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey franchise, (2) excellence in all levels of the team's operations, on-ice and off, as sports fans and citizens of Central Ohio accept nothing less, (3) a commitment to honor the community and fans of Central Ohio from all of those involved in the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey franchise. Today, in furtherance of our mission, we have officially demanded a trade on behalf of our fellow fans in an open letter to John P. McConnell, the team’s majority owner.  In that letter, we have requested that Mr. Priest and Mr. Howson be traded for a management team which is capable of creating the sort of excellence on-ice and off that this fan base deserves.

Guest post author and protest co-organizer
@CapnCornelius
To show that this is not a minority opinion among fans, representatives of F.A.N.S. will be present at all remaining Jackets home games seeking signatures on a petition demanding the termination of Mr. Priest and Mr. Howson.   Furthermore, this Sunday, we have again received a permit to demonstrate in front of Nationwide Arena beginning at 4 p.m. and we will be hosting a Sign Competition and awarding five of our redesigned #OperationStinger t-shirts to the winners.  Please note, signs must be non-profane as profane signs will not be permitted into the Arena.  We will have a limited amount of sign making supplies, but people are also free to bring their own.

This is just the beginning of our efforts and, as with the CBJ Fan Protest, you are the most important part.  We will need volunteers to help get signatures on the petitions and there several upcoming initiatives to give fans and season ticket holders an opportunity to be heard directly by the team.  If you are interested in more information, you can visit the F.A.N.S. website -- www.JacketsFANS.com -- or send us an e-mail at PR@jacketsfans.com.  We look forward to hearing your voices Sunday and each game for the rest of the season.

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