Melvin Gordon jokes Chargers prepared him for playing games in empty stadiums

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports

Melvin Gordon clearly isn’t too keen on the Los Angeles Chargers these days.

The Pro Bowl running back recently signed a two-year deal with the Denver Broncos after a lengthy contract dispute with the Chargers. Seeking a contract extension while still in his prime, Gordon held out for a chunk of the 2019 season, a move that backfired.

During an interview with fellow Wisconsin alum Marcus Cromartie, Gordon used a question about potentially playing in games in empty stadiums to stick it to his former team.

“Bro, we didn’t have fans anyway,” Gordon said. “I’ll be honest, we didn’t have many Chargers fans at the game. Much loyalty and love, but we didn’t have many, so I’m not missing anything.”

To be fair to Gordon, he isn’t exactly wrong about the Chargers attendance.

The team’s total home attendance of 254,007 in 2019 was the lowest in the NFL by a chasmic margin. The second-lowest was the rebuilding Cincinnati Bengals at 367,848.

Those numbers are primarily explained by the Chargers’ use of Dignity Health Sports Park — usually the home of the MLS’s L.A. Galaxy — as a home stadium, but there is plenty of doubt out there about how big a fanbase the team can cultivate in the extremely sports-rich Los Angeles market. Several Chargers home games featured a stadium taken over by fans of the opposing team.

Almost like leaving San Diego to buy into a $5 billion stadium shared with the Los Angeles Rams might not have been the best idea.

As for the idea of playing games in empty stadiums going forward, the NFL hasn’t yet committed to such a plan, but such restrictions could be inevitable at this point. Health experts have frequently warned against playing games in stadiums full of fans while the coronavirus is still spreading.

Melvin Gordon played in front of a lot of other team's fans last season. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Melvin Gordon played in front of a lot of other team's fans last season. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

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