The Trib (via BTSC) recently ran a piece about Art Rooney II, US Ambassador to Ireland Dan Rooney‘s son who basically just took control of the Steelers full-time now that Dan’s overseas fighting the good fight? Art has been involved in the day-to-day operations for a few years now, so he’s not going into a major job like this with minimal experience. Now, he’s just centered in the spotlight.
Some players and fans threw support behind Art as he goes into his first season without his legendary father overshadowing him. His style is different, but the general vibe is that Art isn’t planning on shaking up what appears to be a winning formula. But one dude starts getting all bitter for some reason. John DeSantis, former Allegheny West Civic Council Leader and noted season ticket holder, starts complaining because the two guys fought over funding for Heinz Field.
“Art is very different from his father,” said John DeSantis, former Allegheny West Civic Council leader and a Steelers’ season-ticket holder. “People use the phrase, ‘The Rooneys’ as a comprehensive term. But Art is very different from his uncles, father and grandfather. He’s calculating and Machiavellian.”
DeSantis, 54, tussled with Art II when the latter directed the Steelers’ push to build the publicly-funded Heinz Field, which is located a few blocks away from the Allegheny West neighborhood on the North Side.
“Art Sr. and Dan Rooney are beloved in Western Pennsylvania,” DeSantis said. “They earned the reputation of being honest and upstanding. Art II is not going to inherit that mantle. And he’s already starting to lose it.
“In the long-term, that’s not good for the Steelers’ organization. I predict the Steelers will eventually go to anyone who pays the highest amount of money.”
Art II declined to respond to DeSantis.
My best friend and old college roommate was indirectly related to the Rooney’s. There’d be times when he was out of the room and his phone would start blowing up, and Art’s name and number is flashing on the screen. Art would literally take the time to see how his younger relative was doing. But if John DeSantis wants to keep holding some grudge based on one aspect of the new owner’s entire existence, then I guess that’s his prerogative.
What DeSantis sees as calculating and Machiavellian, I see as determined and focused. He knows what he has to do in his life and in his job…what level of relaxation and public display of emotion does DeSantis need to feel comfortable about Rooney?
And why would his approval of a football owner mean anything? John DeSantis has had what experience in owning a professional sports franchise?
That’s what I thought.