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The Chargers’ recent off-the-field controversies are part of the region’s struggle to decide whether it wants to work with the team to build a new stadium in the area, according to an article nbcsports.com published recently.

The article, which was posted Friday, recounts the recent headlines over the players’ run-ins with the law and league policy, such as the recent allegations that defensive force Shawne Merriman violated the National Football League’s anti-doping rules. Merriman is appealing the ruling.

The story goes on to illustrate the incidents, such as an off-duty cop’s shooting of linebacker Steve Foley as well as various arrests of other Chargers players, as adding more obstacles for the team as it works to secure a new stadium in the county. The writer said these incidents have “overshadowed” the team’s 5-2 start.

Here’s an excerpt from the 1,500-word article:

In all, the incidents add yet another layer of complexity to ongoing negotiations aimed at keeping the Chargers in the San Diego area – a proposition made all the more difficult because the city is staring at the possibility of bankruptcy amid a pension fund deficit of nearly $2 billion. State and federal grand juries have indicted eight former pension board members and city bureaucrats.

The financial uncertainties have been matched by political instability. Last year, in the space of just a few months, the city went through four mayors. One of the four, Michael Zucchet, a city councilman, was convicted, the day he became mayor, of charges relating to a strip-club scandal. A few months later, a federal judge threw out a jury’s guilty verdicts and granted Zucchet a new trial.

This past January, owing in large part to the unsettled economic and political scene, the Chargers abandoned a proposal that would have asked voters in next week’s election to approve a plan to build a $450 million stadium on the 166-acre plot where Qualcomm Stadium sits. The team would have paid for the stadium in exchange for development rights to 60 acres of the Qualcomm site, enough room for condominiums, stores and a hotel.

What’s next? It’s anybody’s guess.

For Chargers boosters in the county, “what’s next” may be the two potential stadiums sites that are being negotiated between the team and two South Bay cities – Chula Vista and National City.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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