April/August 2004: Fans Campaign To Oust Richard Peddie
With the proliferation of sports coverage on both traditional media and the internet sports fans have become a lot smarter about the games as well as the decisions that lead to their teams eventual success or failure. For the purposes of this post let's look at failure (a shocking development, I know).
Over the past couple of decades fans of losing teams have gone from blaming the refs, to blaming the players, to blaming the coach, and then on to blaming the general manager. At the end of the 2003/2004 season the Toronto Raptors fans took it to the next level by blaming the President & CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Mr. Richard Peddie.
"Create Champions...Excite Our Fans, Inspire Our Employees, Bring Pride To Our Community...And We All Win."
That's Peddie's vision statement. In 10 years with the Raptors, I think it's pretty safe to say he has yet to achieve any of these goals. Thus far Peddie has presided over zero championship parades, which frustrates fans and leads employees to demand trades that in turn embarasses the community. The only people winning are the guys collecting all the money from tickets and merchandise... which is the reason Richard Peddie remains President & CEO despite the widespread mutiny of the fans in the spring and summer of 2004.
But the anti-Peddie contingent got their sweet revenge by pooling up enough money to make a grand public statement against their nemesis: "Keep Vince, Trade Peddie." They hired a plane to fly a banner around the ACC which was a curious choice considering it is not an open-air stadium. But that wasn't so much the problem as the fact that the plane wasn't able to fly until the day after Vince Carter's Charity Event. So their statement reached the approximately 25 random people who happened to be looking up at the sky on August 1st, 2004. Proving that while fans may have gotten smarter, they still have a ways to go.