January 23, 2018

Vikings fan to Amazon: Pick anywhere but Philly for HQ2

North Dakota radio host slams city for how Minnesota fans were treated at Lincoln Financial Field

Amazon Eagles
10182017_AmazonCampusAerials Source/www.amazon.com

This aerial photo shows the campus of Amazon headquarters in Seattle. The online retailing giant is looking for a place to building its second headquarters, and Philadelphia hopes to get prime consideration.

Philadelphia and its football fans made quite an impression on one visitor who made the trip east to see his Minnesota Vikings get blown out by the Eagles in the NFC championship game.

Joel Heitkamp, a radio talk show host at KFGO 790 AM in North Dakota, vowed this week that he would never spend another dime in Philly after receiving a less-than-friendly welcome from some Eagles fans on Sunday night.

His experience at the Linc was so traumatizing, in fact, that he addressed Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos in a fiery blog post on his radio station's website, begging the online retail giant to build its $5 billion second headquarters elsewhere.

Anywhere but Philadelphia, he said.

"Do not build your $5 billion second headquarters in the 'City of Brotherly Love.' Do not bring the stimulus of 50,000 new jobs there," he wrote on Monday. "As an Amazon customer, I want to continue to do business with your company. Please, anywhere but Philadelphia."

Ouch.

Philly's reputation out west appears to be so poor, in fact, that the radio station also called Eagles fans "a bunch of inbred mongrels" in a Facebook reply to a few commenters who blasted the post, which received thousands of shares on social media.

"They're reprehensible," the reply stated, referring to "Philly's finest."

"You should be ashamed, but, are probably incapable of such feeling."

Heitkamp admitted that Philadelphians will call him a sore loser. While he's right about that, he claimed the result on the field is an entirely separate matter.

"The Eagles were the better team. They pummeled us. They won that game fair and square," he wrote. "But it was in the stands and the tailgate lots, and throughout the entire city for that matter, where Philadelphia lost. Human decency was lost on Philadelphia."

Heitkamp, who said he has been to NFL games elsewhere and "countless other stadiums as a college football referee," said he and other Vikings fans were terrorized.

He detailed the experience in his post:

"I have never seen such a display in my life. We had full beer cans thrown at us. We were shoved and spat upon. I was [head-butted] by a drunk Eagles fan. My wife and sister feared for their lives. Another North Dakotan was beat up in a stadium bathroom.

"Where were the police, you ask? I am asking myself that same question. Well, I did see some law enforcement officers. I saw one cop walk up to an Eagles tailgate and ask for a 'soda.' He left with a red solo cup filled with beer. I saw another cop witness someone being thrown to the ground, and he didn’t so much as flinch. 'Keep moving,' he said."

The celebration that followed was largely perceived as peaceful, albeit a bit rowdy. That'll happen when the Eagles clobber a favored team at home en route to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2005.

Philadelphia police tied only six arrests to the game, although an Eagles fan did punch a police horse for the second time in two weeks.

As for the H2Q sweepstakes, Philly was named among the finalists for the company's second headquarters last week. A final decision is expected later this year.

The city has pushed hard to bring Amazon here, claiming in October that the city is in the "Goldilocks zone" because of its talent pool, affordability and location on the northeast corridor.