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Warren deserves suspension and severe fine


The following is the transcript of Tuesday's question and answer session between Vic Ketchman and Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver.
Vic:Welcome to this week's Q&A with Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver. Wayne, I have no choice but to start with one of the most controversial plays in Jaguars history. I'm referring to the hit Gerard Warren of the Cleveland Browns put on Mark Brunell. It was the first offensive play for the Jaguars. What is your position on that play?
Wayne: Well, I've talked to the league about it. It was clearly, Vic, a flagrant hit. This young man was head-hunting. There's no room in this game for that. He came from 10 yards away and Mark was totally out of the play. He was totally unprotected and it was a helmet-to-helmet hit. I am expecting a severe fine and maybe suspension from that hit.

Vic: Those aren't the comments that Cleveland coach Butch Davis made.
Wayne: I don't know what coach Davis had to say about it. Anyone who looked at that film, I would like for them to look at it with me and tell me I'm wrong.

Vic: What action do you want to see the league take?
Wayne: I want to see a suspension and a severe fine.
Vic: There was also an incident involving the Browns and the Jaguars logo at midfield. What's your take on that one?
Wayne: It's up to the league on that. I certainly don't feel as strong about that as I do the hit. If that's the way a coach wants to motivate his team and if the league doesn't call that taunting, I'm okay with it.

Vic:You said you talked to the league. Who at the league?
Wayne: I spoke to Roger Goodell, who all the officials report to. I shared my concerns with Roger that if we are going to have rules like this, then we have to impose the proper penalty violations.

Vic: Sunday was a day of controversy. One issue was the blackout. What should we have learned from the blackout?
Wayne: I've said all along, Vic, that the reality was at some point we were going to have a blackout. It was our first one in 50 games. It's always a difficult thing to face. We have to do a better job of marketing. We have a number of incentives that we're trying. We are going to try and condense the upper deck, toward the middle of the upper deck and see if we can vacate those corners and maybe even re-price some more seats to that $100 level. I think we can sell this stadium out. We have work to do, but it's not going to happen overnight.

Vic: What do you mean when you say vacate?
Wayne: If you look at the upper deck, from my seat, I can see that east stand and that's were our problems are and the upper north end zone. I can see that area and I can see those pockets. Those pockets are more toward the middle of the field. We can move those people into a better location from the corners and maybe re-price those sections.

Vic: I've made the suggestion of covering seats. You don't like that?
Wayne: I don't think that's the right idea. We've filled this stadium over the years and there's no need for us to panic because we've had one blackout. It just doesn't make any sense.
Vic: How does this team and any other team benefit from having its game televised?
Wayne: I've been a big proponent of televising our games. I think that's how you build a fan base.
Vic: What are the benefits of having them blacked out?
Wayne: There's not a benefit. I think you just dislocate too many fans. There's a number of reasons why fans can't come to the game and you want them to share in the excitement of a Jaguars game. We want to televise our games. We've got to get people off their couches and into the stadium; (those who) can come and want to come.

Vic: There's no benefit to you having a game blacked out?
Wayne: I don't believe there is. I think it hurts you more than it helps you. Now, there are pros and cons. We had a huge turnout at the gate on Sunday. We had people still trying to buy tickets close to halftime. We are going to address that so we can manage those types of crowds. We'll try to do a better job at the Buffalo game to make sure we can facilitate the walk-up crowd on game day. I don't think it's an advantage. I think it's a disadvantage of not having your game on television so that the entire market can participate in the Jaguars game.

Vic: Where do you stand for that Buffalo game?
Wayne: I think we're about 3,000 or 4,000 seats away. Obviously, we've got some time. We believe that we'll sell out, but it's going to take some work between now and then.

Vic: Alltel Stadium is going to undergo an upgrade for the Super Bowl in February of 2005. Should the market size of this stadium, as it pertains to regular season games, be in the plans for that upgrade?
Wayne: Any seating we do for the Super Bowl will be temporary seating. We plan to go up to about 82,000 for the Super Bowl. It would be temporary seating in the south end zone. That would be facilitated with the deck that we are building for the Georgia-Florida game, which we are required to have.

Vic: What would that do for regular season seating at Alltel Stadium?
Wayne: That would not change. The only thing that would change would be if we are able to add some suites where we could replace the pressbox. We are talking about relocation of the pressbox, and all of this is early, Vic. If we did that we would add some suites. We would add a club in the south end zone. So we might add 1,000 seats, but they would be premium and they don't count against the blackout.

Vic: You don't buy into the theory that seating capacity needs to be reduced?
Wayne: No. I do say that we are a large stadium in a small market. It's incumbent on us to be more creative on how we fill this stadium. You go over to Gainesville every Saturday and they have over 80,000 people in their stadium. You go to Knoxville, Tenn.; it's a small market and the have 105,000 in their stadium. I think we've overpriced our building in certain areas and we have to strategically re-think some of those things, and over the course of the next year we'll solve this problem.

Vic:If nothing else, I think the blackout brought a lot of thought from everybody?
Wayne: No question.

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