Gayle Benson of Pelicans, Saints to continue using term ‘owner’
Gayle Benson, the owner of the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans and NFL’s New Orleans Saints, plans to continue to refer to herself as an owner despite a movement to eliminate the term from the sports vernacular.
Gayle Benson assumed control of the Pelicans and Saints when husband Tom passed away in 2018. There has been a push of late in the NBA to stop using the term “owner” in the interests of racial sensitivity. Despite the groundswell of support, Benson recently informed The New Orleans Advocate she has no intention to stop using the term.
“As with any word, phrase or expression, interpretations can be perceived differently,” Benson said in a statement provided to the Advocate. “That is in many ways why diversity, inclusion and openness is so important to companies and society. As with any expression, my intention and the intentions of the organization I am responsible for is never to be insensitive or insulting.
“I truly believe daily actions speak very loudly, and it is my sincere hope that the players and staff know how much I care for them and their families. I sincerely hope no term that attempts to define my corporate standing would in any negative way suggest a lack of caring, respect or admiration for that they accomplish every day – leaders, teammates, colleagues, parents, mentors, citizens.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver pointed out in a recent interview that the league has been moving away from the term “owner” for some time. Instead, the NBA prefers controlling individuals of franchises to be referred to as “governor.”
“I don’t want to overreact to the term because, as I said earlier, people end up twisting themselves into knots avoiding the use of the word owner,” Silver said, via TMZ Sports. “But, we moved away from that term years ago in the league.”
Benson, it merits noting, views herself as more of “a caretaker of incredible assets” as opposed to “owner,” but she nevertheless will not refrain to referring to herself as the latter.