Should a new stadium for the Giants and Jets — shown here with the Jets going for it on fourth-and-long from their own 35 — be named after a German corporation with ties to the Holocaust? The controversy continues to swirl over New York, as Allianz Insurance would reportedly pay $20 million to $30 million per year for the naming rights of the $1.3 billion stadium, which is set to open in 2010.
The possibility of what some saw as a former Third Reich enabler getting its name on their ballpark has some Big Blue and Gang Green fans vowing boycott. "I think it's terrible, but that's the mighty dollar," Giants fan Keith Hayes, 33, said of the name. "It would be an insult," said Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. "It's putting their name in lights for generations to come." During the Holocaust, the same company refused to pay off life insurance stipends to Jews and sent their policies' proceeds to the Nazis instead, Holocaust historians have written. Allianz, which employs 11,000 people in the U.S. and sponsors golf and racing events, has acknowledged its shameful past and has shelled out millions in restitution.
Allianz, based in Munich, is also the principal sponsor of the Swiss Open tennis tournament, owner of the Gornik Zabrze soccer team in Poland, and sponsors Alliance Arena in Munich. I understand that branding is important in the corporate world, but come on; considering the gravity of its past, would it have killed Allianz to maybe have considered a name change following WWII? And I'm not sure what the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is thinking here. The Astros found the Enron Corp. offensive enough to take the name of of their field, and as far as I know, Enron never invaded Poland. Jewish Groups, Fans In Uproar Over Name Bid By Firm With Holocaust Ties [New York Daily News]