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Leonsis's statement on Pollin (updated)

Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis has released the following statement regarding the death of Abe Pollin:

We are all saddened by the news of Mr. Pollin's passing. We extend our deepest sympathies to Irene, Robert, Jimmy, the rest of the Pollin family and his many friends and join them, and all of Washington, in mourning a great man.
Mr. Pollin was a model philanthropist, an icon in the sports world and the individual responsible for founding the Capitals and bringing an NBA championship to our city. He was the catalyst in building a fabulous downtown arena that revitalized the surrounding area. Anyone walking down 7th Street, seeing the throngs of excited fans, the host of popular restaurants, hotels and nightspots, can attest to the lasting legacy of Mr. Pollin's deep commitment to D.C.
My partners and I were proud to work with him and his family during the last ten years and we are committed to continuing his tradition of building exciting, championship-caliber teams. When Lincoln Holdings bought the Capitals and a substantial percentage of Washington Sports & Entertainment from Mr. Pollin in 1999, he gave us the exclusive right to purchase the remaining portion of the Wizards, Verizon Center and the local Ticketmaster franchise. That agreement established an orderly process for conducting that transaction and it is our intention to follow that process. Now is not the time, however, to discuss that subject; our focus now should be on mourning a great man who has done so much for our city.

Update: Leonsis also spoke to Tarik briefly on the phone tonight, and he had this to say about Pollin's contributions to Washington:

"It was an enormous risk for Abe to build that building when the city was bankrupt. Washington, D.C., was bankrupt and couldn't step up and help him build that building. And now you go to downtown Washington and it's an unbelievable city with a thriving tax base, all because of his courage. He made great sacrifices for the city and I've always felt that his contributions were underestimated or underappreciated. He was great man."

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  November 24, 2009; 8:34 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Bettman's statement on Pollin
Next: Abe Pollin: The man who brought hockey to D.C.


Thank you Mr. Pollin. You will be missed.

Posted by: uncatim | November 24, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

First order of business when Lincoln Holdings buys the rights... Change the team name back to the Bullets. RIP Abe.

Posted by: voyage35 | November 24, 2009 8:54 PM | Report abuse


While "Wizards" isn't a bad name for the basketball team, I'll always think of them as the Bullets. So I agree with your recommendation.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | November 24, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

They best way to honor him would be to beat Buffalo by 7 tomorrow. A dominating celebration of a game.

Posted by: lornemyoung | November 24, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

If now's not the time to talk about purchasing the teams, why talk about purchasing the teams in this statement?

Posted by: ah___ | November 24, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

If it's not the time to discuss the Wizards/VC purchase, why is Ted discussing it?

Posted by: Hatfield223 | November 24, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

My condolences to the Pollin family. He did a lot for this city and will be missed.

Posted by: ablake70 | November 24, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

A man of great vision, he will be missed.

Posted by: SeattleRob | November 24, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I was riding my moped taking food to the homeless when I got into an accident on the side of a road on a lonely highway. My heart stopped for several minutes when Mr. Pollin stopped to help me. He performed open heart surgery on me right then and there on the side of the road, swapping out my heart with his. I was able to get up, get back on my moped and ride away.

Thank you Mr. Pollin for all you have done for me and everybody else.

Posted by: Unleash_The_Caps | November 24, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

well I think he has an obligation to let the fans know what will happen to the team and he did that... no big deal

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

C'mon Ted, what's w/ the 3rd paragraph and your intent to exercise your option to acquire the Wizards? We could've waited until after the funeral to find this out. Pretty cheesy on your part. RIP Mr. Pollin! You obviously had class that some of your successors seem to lack...

Posted by: randysbailin | November 24, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

@Unleash_The_Caps: you're an idiot.

Posted by: keeef | November 24, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

what keeef just said...

Unleash_The_Caps says Ovie has past his prime and now this... just goes to show there are idiots everywhere

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Ted, through Lincoln Holdings, is a part owner of the Wizards. That is what makes his statement relevant and newsworthy. EVERYONE knows he has an option for Pollin's share, so if he was silent, people would just ask why. His statement settles the question of his future plans. And if you really want to parse Ted's statement, by the way, his citing Mr. Pollin's "tradition of building exciting, championship-caliber teams" can only be described as charitable.

As for Mr. Pollin's class, without speaking ill of the dead, he was sued several times by ex-partners who would probably disagree with your assessment of his class.

Posted by: gbooksdc | November 24, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

this is america.. if you haven't been sued for something especially you're as rich as Mr. Pollin, you just wait...

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

I hope @Unleash_The_Caps dies today too.

Posted by: Rocc00 | November 24, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Everyone knows that Lincoln Holdings is gonna take control of the Wizards. It's not like there was great confusion as to what now becomes of the franchise. We could've waited a little more than 2 hours after Pollin's death to find out the fate of the team and we could've found out by some other means than in a message of "sympathy".

Posted by: randysbailin | November 24, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I have no desire to offend anyone. But, since this is after all a blog about the Caps, I think it is fair to raise the question of whether Ted's acquisition of the Wizards will reduce his commitment to the Caps. Will he continue to be as willing to push the limits of the salary cap, acquire free agents, keep current star players, and eat contracts as necessary (e.g., Jagr, potentially Nylander) if he is under financial pressure to make payments on the purchase of the Wizards/Verizon Center. Last time I checked, AOL just announced another major layoff (I didn't know they had that many employees left).

Posted by: zmega | November 24, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

That is pretty depressing. I log on to see if there is any caps news and I find out Abe Pollin died. Lame.

@zmega: I don't think you should have posed the question here but it is a valid concern. If Leonsis Owns both he will run them to be profitable. It would be in his interest to have 2 highly profitable teams instead of 1 good and one bad. I am semi excited because this could be the start of a new era for the Wizards and another chance for DC to shine.

Posted by: trunkenmath | November 24, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: richmondphil | November 24, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link on Laich--much more interesting than this arguing.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 24, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

@Unleash the Caps:

You know, it might make me a bad person, but I'm going to say it anyway.

. . . I laughed!

Among other things I think humor is a shield, a weapon, a survival kit... So here we are several billion of us, crowded into our global concentration camp for the duration. How are we to survive? Solemnity is not the answer, any more than witless and irresponsible frivolity is. I think our best chance lies in humor, which in this case means a wry acceptance of our predicament. We don't have to like it but we can at least recognize its ridiculous aspects, one of which is ourselves.

Posted by: ogdennash | November 24, 2009 11:40 PM | Report abuse

another idiot alert...

sure it's okay to laugh when you've just lost a loved one and wanna remember the good times

only an idiot would make fun of Mr. Pollin's death

Posted by: joek443 | November 24, 2009 11:57 PM | Report abuse

What is this joke hour!??

Posted by: CapsFan21 | November 25, 2009 12:20 AM | Report abuse

As a kid growing up in this town and loving the Capitals, I used to curse Abe Pollin (the cheap SOB) all the time for not letting David Poile sign a few high-priced guys to put us over the top. AND, especially letting Scott Stevens sign away with the Blues, not matching that offer sheet - I think I was mad for years after that one. RIP or not RIP Abe Pollin - don't really care, hope you realize by now you could not take it with you. The best thing he did was sell the Caps to Leonsis.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | November 25, 2009 2:39 AM | Report abuse

I wonder what the response would be if the was Dan synder.... who would care and would anyone care .

Posted by: terryreece | November 25, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link to the article on Laich, richmondphil. The more I know about that guy, the more there is to like. Would love an article like this detailing each Caps player's approach to hockey.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | November 25, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

This is a thread about the Caps, but Mr. Pollin owned the Caps before Mr. Leonsis, and frankly, I am thankful Mr. Pollin had the strength and vision to choose an heir for his kingdom. In the 10 years since buying into the family, Uncle Ted has done many things, most of which have shown the Mr. Pollin had great vision in the choice he made.

I have every belief that Mr. Leonsis (I use the honorifics for a simple reason: respect. They both heave earned it.) will continue to do what he has done until now: choose wise people to make good decisions, and do what he has done from the beginning, focus on making the fan experience the best it can be. SOMEONE who shall remain nameless would be wise to take lessons.

Posted by: ey22314 | November 25, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

In the death of Pollin, Ted Leonsis manages to once again distinguish himself in dubious fashion. It's all about you, Ted. Keep telling yourself that.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | November 25, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Indeed, good question... Ted Leonsis is/was a basketball junky first... It will be interesting to see what happens. Don't forget that each team has two salary caps...the one fixed by the league, and the one fixed by the owner. We will have to see if, in the future, Ted will allow GMGM to spend as close to the Cap space as he is allowed to at this point in time.
BTW, a little unclassy for Ted to talk business in his eulogy.

Posted by: atybat | November 25, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

This might be dark humor, but I have this image of Leonsis checking the obituary section every morning to see if Abe Pollin's name appears. He probably wrote this press release 5 years ago...

Posted by: randysbailin | November 25, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Edward Bennett Williams, Jack Kent Cooke, and now Abe Pollin...imagine the games they get to watch from above !!!!

Posted by: outrbnksm | November 25, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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