These days, Chargers' fans are feeling a little dismayed – their beloved football team may be leaving San Diego and heading north to Los Angeles. As a result, those with Chargers ink are considering having it removed.
Several tattoo removal parlors in the San Diego area are preparing for a peak in business as a result. Unlike other NFL football fans, people who root for the Chargers are a little more likely to support their team by wearing them on their sleeve – literally. Local tattoo artists estimate that thousands of San Diegans have at least one tattoo that pays tribute to the team. Now, filled with regret, fans may head to the closest removal artist they can find.
Three NFL teams, the San Diego Chargers, the Oakland Raiders and the St. Louis Rams, are currently in a bidding war to become Los Angeles's home team so that they can play in a brand-new stadium. Currently, the Chargers are the front runners for this contest, leaving many of the team's fans worried and disappointed. If the Chargers do move, it's unlikely that the team will be replaced.
"If the Chargers do move, it's unlikely that the team will be replaced."
Some fans have rooted for the team since they arrived in 1961, while others became fans because their family, friends or neighbors encouraged them to wear the powder blue and yellow that is associated with the team. Those two colors have carried over into several of the tattoos that San Diegans have on their arms, chests, backs and so on.
Turns out, those ink colors are fairly hard to remove, according to Michael Speaker, the manager of Tattoo Laser Removal Clinic in San Diego. Unlike dark colors or black ink, light colored ink reflects the light from a laser, making the process a little more difficult. Tattoo removal artists may even have to remove those lighting bolts and shields using a different type of laser, known as a dual-pulse laser. But if fans don't want to go through this long, arduous process, they can also pay for a couple sessions to let the tattoo fade and then alter it into a different image.
Other fans are simply looking to modify their current tattoo to make it a remembrance of the team. For instance, Carlos Rodgriguez plans to add the years the Chargers played in San Diego if they leave. Others, like Israel Paz and Fabian Alvarez, plan to add the words "San Diego" next to their tattoos.
Making a deal
However, if fans want to completely remove their tattoos, many local parlors are offering promotions to fans looking to erase their allegiance to the team. Just take Propaganda Tattoo, which has two locations in the city. This isn't the first time the parlor's owner, Marc Bennett, has run a promotion for Chargers' fans. In 2007, Bennett offered a one-day deal where locals could get a lightning bolt tattoo, free of charge. Now, he's offering another deal for fans who are looking to remove that lighting bolt, or any other Chargers-affiliated tattoo. Anyone who comes into the shop with a business card-sized tattoo can get their first tattoo removal session for $21. Bennett picked this number to honor former Chargers player LaDainian Tomlinson, who played as a running back for the team from 2001 to 2010.
Propoganda Tattoo isn't the only one offering a deal. The Finest Tattoo & Art Company made headlines after they decided to offer free tattoo removal services at their North San Diego parlor. The business chose to advertise their services in a rather interesting way. One of the parlor's artists chose to retrieve a small wood-grip saw from the back room. The artist wrote "Free Chargers tattoo removal," in mechanical pencil and then sketched over it in red and orange ink. If things go south and the team chooses to go north, the parlor will advertise the deal with a full window display.
Of course, all these fans hope that there will be no need to remove their tattoos because the team will choose to stay. Regardless of whether the team chooses to stay or go, Speaker estimates that he and other tattoo removal companies will see a spike in business.
"There are so many things that people want off of them: exes' names, fairies, skulls, job-stopper tattoos, which are in the neck and hands," Speaker said. "There's plenty of regret out there. Whether it's an ex-wife or an ex-team, we take it off if that's the patient's desire."