Jeff Herr, a finalist in the 2011 Big Gig Contest on 610 Sports Radio, was born and raised in Kansas City. Following the Chiefs, Royals, and Jayhawks all his life has led him to blog about all three extensively at the-jeff-report.blogspot.com. He has also spent time covering the Royals for the blog site kingsofkauffman.com as well as serving for a period as the lead editor of throughthephog.com a blog covering the Kansas Jayhawks. When not writing about the local sports scene, he pays the bills by serving as an accountant.
Jeff Herr: Clark Hunt Hasnt Earned Our Trust
by Jeff Herr,posted Dec 17 2012 8:53PM
Sunday could go down as the most embarrassing loss in franchise history for the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s bad enough to lose, worse to lose to the Raiders, but when the Raiders are one of the worst teams in the league with the 30th ranked defense and the Chiefs can’t even muster a single point, it’s an epic level of ineptitude rarely seen this side of Kristen Stewart’s acting.
With such a pitifully awful display, it would seem that changes are in order for the front office, the coaching staff, half the players, heck just about everybody will and should be under the microscope. If football is the ultimate team game then some of the blame for this, however big or small, falls on everybody. Nobody should escape the scrutiny of true evaluation after this season. Such a thing should be true for the owner as well.
Unfortunately, the owner of a sports team is the ultimate “buck stops here” position in which nobody can tell him/her what to do. Clark Hunt is in that position. Hunt won’t be under a microscope and he has given us no confidence that he will turn it on the right people.
Trying to reach back and see how Hunt would feel about this past Sunday is a futile exercise. It makes us realize how little we know about the owner of the most beloved franchise in the city. You would think he would be disgusted by the embarrassing performance. You would think he would come out and tell us that this is unacceptable and it will get better as the Jacksonville Jaguars owner has done. But silence has spoken volumes. Even if actions are louder than words his inaction is shouting from the top of a 78,000+ seat stadium through a blowhorn with nothing but euphemisms and clichés.
Hunt has remained mum on the disappointing play of this team on the field in 2012. Even more so about the supposed and undeserved extension that Scott Pioli was rumored to have received in August. When he has spoken it has been trite and clichéd nonsense about what winning organizations do, none of which is actually done by the team he runs.
Yet, this is the same man who invited a fan into his office after receiving a letter suggesting Hunt was cheap. While not much was revealed about the meeting, the fan did note that he had a newfound respect for the owner.
Through all of this Hunt still remains a mystery. He talks about cash spending versus cap spending to justify why letting people like Brandon Carr go is an acceptable casualty for the long-term plans of the franchise, and not a short-sighted, ill-advised, penny pinching move.
He talks about turning this organization into the Pittsburgh Steelers or the New England Patriots who are in contention every year. What he neglects is to actually look at those organizations and find what it is that makes them successful, which is a consistency of message and accountability.
Does anyone think it possible that any of Bill Belichick’s players or coaching staff isn’t on the exact same letter of the same word on the same page? Could anyone believe that even with their struggles Mike Tomlin still doesn’t have full control over the Steelers?
From day one those coaches are clear on what their message is. They have it laid out where they’re going, how they’re going to get there, and why. I don’t know if there’s anybody who could legitimately suggest the same level of organization occurs at One Arrowhead Drive.
With all the confusion the fans don’t know who to believe. On Twitter last year it was #TeamHaley versus #TeamPioli. Some people believe the players, some believe the coaches, some think those are the ones to blame and the front office is to be believed. The dysfunction in this organization has caused even the fans to choose sides on the infighting.
From a fan-to-team perspective all this has done is breed distrust. Faith that this organization will make the right moves and reward us properly for being the fans that we are is at an all-time low. We all know that Pioli and Crennell should be gone. I happen to think Crennell is probably out, but Pioli is 50/50 to stay or leave. Regardless, that is just the symptom and not the true problem. There is no evidence to suggest, or even to have faith, that if Pioli and Crennell are fired that Hunt will be able to make the right decision.
Besides Hunt’s track record for lack of accountability and action within the organization, the evidence exists outside of football to further our lack of trust. Some digging into Clark Hunt’s business dealings reveals a relationship he had with Barrett Wissman in Dallas, TX. Wissman pleaded guilty to securities fraud in New York after, according to this article from dmagazine.com, “essentially bringing people to get state pension funds to invest with a hedge fund controlled by Wissman and Hunt – except Hunt says he didn’t know what was going down. His hands are clean.”
The article goes on further to explain to how a woman named Hilary Kramer filed suit against Hunt and Wissman in 2010 claiming that they destroyed her hedge fund. Apparently Kramer had knowledge of shady business dealings that Hunt and Wissman were involved in while conducting business for Hunt’s hedge fund endeavor HFV (Hunt Financial Ventures).
Now, no formal charges have been brought against Hunt nor are any accusations being thrown here to implicate Hunt himself. However, it is true that Hunt and Wissman are long-time friends having gone to the same high school in Dallas and Wissman did plead guilty to these charges. What’s also true is that Hunt put Wissman in charge of a multi-million dollar portion of his business, the very one that his father built and he inherited.
Even if Hunt truly didn’t know what was going on, he still put Wissman in charge. While it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Wissman could have been a good man and suddenly changed course on account of greed (he most certainly wouldn’t be the first), the greater likelihood is that Hunt knew how Wissman did business and that’s exactly why he hired him. Hunt’s hands may have been clean, but it shows a larger window into his methods.
As just another piece of Hunt’s track record, does this give us any confidence that he will make a sound decision to put the right man in charge? While he may not have perpetrated any fraud himself, Hunt has to be held responsible for putting the man that did in that position. The same should be applied to the Chiefs. While he didn’t make any of the personnel decisions on his own, or hire the coach, he most certainly put the man in charge who did and who’s fostered the dysfunction that is ruining this organization.
As fans we’ve had enough of Pioli and the underachieving suck that is this organization. As fans we deserve better. As a fan myself I’d like to believe we’ll get it. Unfortunately, I have no evidence to support such belief. Maybe a championship will get brought back to KC someday. Maybe one Chiefs team will catch a wave of luck, as so much of sports come down to that anyway. It’s all very possible. But I know that, with who we have in charge at the moment, I won’t be holding my breath.
all it would take to cool down the fan base is a simple statement from clark hunt. just an email to some media out let. just a few sentences:
i realize things did not go well this season and i am greatly disappointed. i am going to take the necessary steps in the offseason to make this team competitive once again.
thats it two sentences. but hes too big of a coward to admit hes failed at any level. hes an osterich with his head in the sand, refusing to acknowledge the problem
Clark will never be Lamar
Lamar loved Kansas City, loved the fans, and loved the people that worked for him here. Lamar, and Jack Steadman made everyone that was part of any organization they owned in this city special. The amazing Christmas parties for their full time employees made everyone feel like family.
My wife, and I worked for Worlds of Fun, and when we arrived at Arrowhead for the party, Lamar, and Jack greeted everyone as we walked in. My wife was pregnate with our first son, and Lamar knew us by name, and congratulated us. Do you think Clark knows the names of the employees at Arrowhead? I don't think so, cause unless it involves the budget, he probably won't bat an eye. Unless 30 to 40% of the season ticket holders turn in their tickets for this next season, Scott, and Romeo will still have their backsides planted firmly in their seats, in their office, and Clark won't give a tinkers unless it affects the bottom line. That is the real reason we didn't go after Manning. Salaries were going to be trimmed, and Pioli. wasn't having any part of it. It Clark we disn't need him, because of the amazing talent of the 2 we already had signed. Well, look where we are for that, and look where Denver is. Seats filled at home for every game to see Peyton Manning. Little kids hanging all over the place for a possible autograph, and how many kids stood outside the stadium wanting our 2 amazing QBs????
So sad the day Lamar left our city, and this world, and place the team in the hands of a spoiled rich boy that doesn't know how to talk to people that don't wear a suit everyday. Lamar cared, Clark doesn't know how to handle anything without his private jet, his limo, and if you try to speak to him in a polo shirt, your looked down on, and he doesn't listen, unless you are kissing up.