Sports marketing guru Lynn Stelling-Asoki points out that the Valley's negative perception of the Bidwills could weigh against them. "Imagine the league faced with overwhelming fan outrage in the form of a petition drive to wrench the team from the Bidwills, for example. The league could decide that, in the face of sustained public outrage, continued support of the family is too much of a liability and use the turpitude rules to oust them."
Stelling-Asoki compared the Cardinals' situation to that faced in 1984 by then-Baltimore Colts owner Bob Irsay, who moved his team to Indianapolis that year in an infamous nighttime escape.
"The way fans in Phoenix feel already, they might help the team pack," she says. "But the general public isn't yet aware what a dramatic development this is going to turn out to be not until New Times hits the streets, anyway. I'm saying, these allegations are so egregious, the Bidwills probably won't get the chance to whisk the team away."
Ogden Farrell says he's more curious about what happened to the tortoises than what may happen to the Bidwills.
Farrell asked New Times to alert citizens that, if they stumble upon the missing tortoises, they should immediately call authorities. (Farrell's organization, the Sonoran Desert Conservancy, can be reached at 602-238-4804 or at [email protected].) Even do-gooders, he points out, can do the tortoise more harm than good: Picking up a plodding tortoise can cause it to panic and empty its bladder, leading to lethal dehydration.
"After we expose Bill Bidwill's wrongdoing," Farrell adds, "I have a feeling he'll be the one with the bladder problem."