Leiweke too quiet amid Lightning CEO rumors
Tod Leiweke was pretty straight last month regarding his candidacy status for the role of CEO of Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment and the Tampa Bay Lightning. That was on April 10th.
"I know a little bit about what they're doing, and something good is going to emerge there," Leiweke said. "It's a fantastic opportunity for the right person."
"I'm happy doing what I'm doing," Leiweke said.
Rather straightforward isn't it? If not absolute.
But TSN's report on Wednesday, that Leiweke -- current CEO of Vulcan Sports, overseeing the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Trailblazers franchises -- was candidate-one for the Tampa Bay CEO job... well, it led to a flurry of reports of denial.
...And a game of "Telephone" in the media. The message was twisted and bent as it spread, and the original context was lost.
It all started with Damian Cristodero of the St. Pete Times getting a denial from the Seattle Seahawks organization. This the denial in the original context of it's publication:
Despite saying on April 10 that he is not a candidate for the Tampa Bay Lightning's CEO job, Tod Leiweke's name keeps popping up. On Wednesday, the web site for Canada's TSN, said the Lightning and Leiweke, the CEO of the NFL's Seahawks, were close to finalizing a deal. But Seahawks spokesman Dave Pearson said there is "no truth" to the report.
The entire context is "no truth."
Danny O'Neil had linked to Cristodero's story on Thursday morning in his denial post for the Seattle Times. As of this writing on Saturday, that link has been removed and there is no official source/quote cited for the denial. No new or official remarks, no new content, only linking back to the original Leiweke denial from April 10th.
Why the change? Why no remark directly from Leiweke to stress this isn't happening? Some absolute finality, if you will?
The denial continued to manifest on the web, changing into this butchering of the story from Pro Football Talk. Not only was Leiweke's position with the club incorrectly listed in the story, but the team's denial became Leiweke's denial "through a spokesman." And while the "Seahawks aggressively denied" the rumor, there was only the source of the Seattle Times story... Which in turn had been citing the Damian Cristodero on-the-record "no truth" remark from the Seahawks.
Not so aggressive.
The point to the story is thus: there is only one denial of TSN's report from Wednesday -- and that denial is no longer cited by Seattle media. Maybe there is some substance to the TSN rumor?
Maybe I'm making something out of nothing ? It's quite possible. After all, Leiweke's current status with Vulcan Sports makes him one of the most powerful sports-entertainment executives on the continent. Just why would The want to leave that?
He does have past ties to the NHL (having been president of the Minnesota Wild), but is that enough?
A substantive, absolute denial is lacking... And until it comes out (or someone else is ultimately hired by Jeff Vinik to run the Bolts), there will be continued speculation as to Leiweke's future.