The Save The Crew was a movement started by fans of Columbus Crew SC following owner — sorry, investor/operator — Anthony Precourt announcing last fall that he was considering moving the Black & Gold to Austin, Texas. This all stemmed from Columbus’ “business metrics” allegedly not being good and an inability to fix that.
What started as a small movement has grown tremendously. Members of the Save The Crew movement have unearthed several falsities from Precourt and his right-hand man Dave Greeley, as well as making sure the voice of the movement didn’t quiet once Crew SC was eliminated from the MLS Cup playoffs in the Eastern Conference Finals last year.
Over the last several months, the Save The Crew word has spread. Signs have been seen all over Major League Soccer stadiums, as supporters from other MLS teams jump onboard, in the hopes that this does not threaten the future of their teams. Even overseas, teams have embraced the cause, with banners hanging at English games.
Now the movement has moved from the soccer world to the golf world, as five-time PGA Tour winner Jason Dufner arrived to Columbus, Ohio’s Memorial Tournament on Tuesday in a Save The Crew hat. During the press conference on Tuesday morning, Dufner was asked about the hat and if he is familiar with the cause.
“I am. I got a sponsorship this week for a hat. We decided to come up with some Columbus- and Ohio-themed deals for this week, just being the defending champion and being from Ohio. Obviously Save the Crew, the MLS team here, they’re kind of going through a thing with relocation and their owner’s trying to take them to Austin. People here are really passionate about soccer. I wouldn’t say I’m extremely passionate about soccer, but I can identify with what they’re going through being from Cleveland, losing the Browns, I think that was in the early 90s. So just kind of showing some support. We’ll have a couple of different Columbus-, Ohio-themed hats going on and obviously the hat thing with me has been pretty popular with me this week. So it just lined up good.”
As Dufner said, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and lived there until he was 11 years old. The city of Cleveland has been linked with the Save The Crew movement, as the Cleveland Browns were moved by owner Art Modell to Baltimore in 1996. As the Save The Crew movement discovered — and subsequently brought to the attention of the right people — Ohio passed Ohio Revised Code Section 9.67, or the “ Art Model Law,” to help prevent owners from moving teams like the Browns.
Here is how the law reads:
No owner of a professional sports team that uses a tax-supported facility for most of its home games and receives financial assistance from the state or a political subdivision thereof shall cease playing most of its home games at the facility and begin playing most of its home games elsewhere unless the owner either:
(A) Enters into an agreement with the political subdivision permitting the team to play most of its home games elsewhere;
(B) Gives the political subdivision in which the facility is located not less than six months’ advance notice of the owner’s intention to cease playing most of its home games at the facility and, during the six months after such notice, gives the political subdivision or any individual or group of individuals who reside in the area the opportunity to purchase the team.
That law currently has led to a lawsuit between Columbus and Precourt Sports Venture/MLS.
Dufner’s support is another win for the Save The Crew movement in the ongoing battle to expand its reach in order to help the pressure mount for Crew SC to stay in Columbus.
(h/t: Adam Jardy of The Columbus Dispatch for the video)