MetLife Stadium and both the New York Jets and New York Giants training facilities are all currently located across the Hudson River in the state of New Jersey. Having said that, both franchises are based in close proximity to NYC.
To many fans, the distance is manageable and the loyalty remains. To a fan named Abdiell Suero, however, enough is enough.
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Class Action Complaint Filed
“Plaintiff Abdiell Suero, of Greenwich Village, asked in the class action complaint for an order returning both franchises to New York in 2025 — along with the multi-billion pay out nearly a half-century after the Giants moved to the swamps of Jersey,” wrote Larry McShane of the New York Daily News.
Sports, Entertainment, and IP lawyer Darren Heitner tweeted out the documented complaint, joking that “a lawyer actually drafted and signed his name on this Complaint.”
That attorney was Evan Spencer, who McShane quoted, voicing: “The Giants and Jets have no legal or ethical right to play in a stadium built on cheap landfills in New Jersey and still call themselves New York franchises… New York is a special state and an iconic brand that can’t be used by NFL New Jersey Teams to increase their value.”
The introduction of the lawsuit read:
Plaintiff files this class action individually and on behalf of millions of other similarly situated individuals against Defendants for false advertising, deceptive practices, Civil RICO violations, and unjust enrichment. Plaintiff and similarly situated NFL fans have been damaged by use of the “New York” (“NY”) name and brand and the out-of-state relocation of both franchises after the NFL Giants and Jets moved to the State of New Jersey to play football in MetLife Stadium (formerly Giants Stadium). Defendants have damaged Plaintiff and the class and syphoned billions of dollars from interstate commerce that should have been rightfully spent in the State of New York. If the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Liberty, Rangers, and other New York franchises must play in New York and pay premium real estate costs and taxes to be branded a “New York” (“NY”) sports franchise, it is only fair that the NFL Giants and Jets do the same or change their name to accurately reflect the location of their stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Plaintiff and the class request equitable relief and monetary damages.
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Damages: Financial, Emotional & Psychological Toll
Suero’s major point was that the relocation took a toll on New Yorkers financially, in commuting to and from New Jersey. It’s also time-consuming, according to the plaintiff.
“I’ve traveled to and from MetLife Stadium by mass transit and car service, and both ways are a nightmare,” Suero explained — per McShane. “The travel time was longer than the game and it ruined the whole day… The transportation cost almost as much as the tickets.”
The document stated: “Plaintiff and millions of class members have suffered damages by being subjected to expensive and time-consuming transportation from the City and State of New York to East Rutherford, New Jersey on game days to watch the Giants or Jets play, by either driving or mass transportation,” adding later that “90% of the local Giants and Jets fan population, including Plaintiff, reside in New York.”
I’m sure many New Yorkers can relate to Suero on these two issues but is it enough to win a six billion dollar lawsuit?
Well, Suero and Spencer didn’t stop there to find out. In a section titled emotional and psychological damages, the document continued: “Medical experts have determined that there are at least eight factors that motivate people to become sports fans, including eustress (positive response to stress), self-esteem, escape, entertainment, aesthetic, group affiliation and family needs.”
It then highlighted the combined record of the two franchises over the past decade, noting: “As Giants and Jets fans, Plaintiff and the class are insulted, ridiculed, harassed, tormented, and bullied by NFL fans around the United States due to the affiliation of the Giants and Jets with the State of New York rather than their true home, New Jersey… Plaintiff and the class have suffered mental and emotional damages including depression, sadness, and anxiety, as well as limited and damaged eustress, self-esteem, escape, entertainment, group affiliation and family needs as a result of Defendants’ conduct.”
According to McShane, “the lawsuit seeks $2 billion in monetary damages and $4 billion in punitive damages,” which would then be divvied up to “all Giants and Jets fans who live in New York.” Additionally, a “$50 minimum per class member” was requested.
Of course, both franchises could just return to New York (by 2025), or change their name to the New Jersey Jets and Giants — the first two “prayers for relief” on the lawsuit.
Per McShane: “The Jets did not immediately respond to the lawsuit, while the Giants issued a statement declaring ‘this case has no merit and we will defend it vigorously.’”
The Jets and Giants are both currently 4-12 in 2021, and Big Blue is expected to part ways with its general manager — and possibly its head coach — at the end of the season. Woody Johnson’s team is in a slightly better spot, mid-rebuild with a leadership core that will remain intact in 2022.
Neither could make the argument that they are on the cusp of a championship at this moment.