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William Clay Ford, Sr. - RIP

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I suspect a guy with this kind of wealth and this kind of estate has his issues covered. Particularly at almost 89.

4 children and 14 grandchildren, not to mention the cousins. Even if Sr planned there is no guarantee that everyone is going to stay on the reservation with WCFJ's family leadership - but here's hoping things stay quiet.

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A good man who knew nothing about running a successful football team or business. But there are worse things he could be. RIP.

Routinely kept Lions players on the payroll after injuries ended their careers just so they could qualify for an NFL pension. He didn't have to do that.

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Different sport but look at what happened to the Blackhawks when the old man Wirtz died.

That what was the first thing that came to mind when I heard this news, but I will never celebrate a mans' death like a lot of Blackhawks fans did when Wirtz died.

The biggest problem with WCF was that he was too loyal and too much of a nice guy. If that's the worst thing that you can say about the man then he obviously was a good person. My condolences to his family.

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RIP. He had a life better than most and appreciated it.

This is a big deal for a lot of reasons.

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RIP Senior, a good person who was a terrible, terrible owner from a competition standpoint.

On the brighter side, there's finally a legitimate reason to have hope in the Lions.

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RIP, Mr. Ford.

It's funny, but the first thing that popped into my head when I learned about this had nothing to do with the Lions, or Ford Motor Company. No, the first thing I thought of was the Great Lakes freighter (now scrapped) that bore his name. I can remember being 9 or 10 years old, watching that ship plying the St. Clair River during a family excursion to Marine City, MI and thinking "William Clay Ford" was just a really cool name, for a ship or a man.

WmClayFordRL.jpg

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Wow, seemed kind of disrespectful this morning when I went to buy the Detroit Free Press to read about Mr. Ford Sr. I was expecting a huge front page story and what do I see?

A full page ad, the complete whole front page, every square inch, dedicated to Jet Blue starting air service to Boston from Detroit. You have to turn the page to get to the real front page with a large photo and story of Mr. Ford. There is a banner over the Detroit Free Press name with a picture and saying that Mr. Ford had died and to turn to page 1a to read the story.

For all the things the Ford family and Ford Motor Co. has done for Detroit and the surrounding areas they couldn't even give the man the true front page upon his death. Seems like a slap in the face to the Ford family to me.

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4 children and 14 grandchildren, not to mention the cousins. Even if Sr planned there is no guarantee that everyone is going to stay on the reservation with WCFJ's family leadership - but here's hoping things stay quiet.

From the obits I learned that originally the plan was for the family to keep 30% but he pushed II to increase it to 40%. Given that I would think he would be very sensitive to keeping as much in the family as possible.

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He thumbed his nose at the fans when he extended Millen so, yes, bad sports owner. His loyalty was a positive trait but it is part of what made him a bad owner.

RIP Mr. Ford and I am looking forward to the next generation of Lions football.

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How many owners could have had Tagliabue issue a sham fine over the Mariucci hiring(when the black coaches colluded to make an example of the Lions), and then make Tagliabue sit there and take it while he excoriated him over it and told him there was no way he was paying that fine. Ford was one of the owners the commish just sat there and said "yes sir" to.

Sham fine? There was a rule and he clearly broke it.

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Sure are a lot of folks out there dancing on this gentleman's grave. Which is exactly what you'd expect from people who allow some stupid sports team to become the center of their universe. They have no life

RIP

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Martha Ford Article

Over the weekend, longtime Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford Sr. passed away at his home and many believed that his son, William Clay Ford Jr., would be the next man to take over the team.

However, in a statement released by the Lions on Monday, it was announced that Ford Sr.’s widow, Martha Ford, would take over controlling interest of the team.

“Pursuant to long-established succession plans, Mr. Ford’s controlling interest in the Lions passes to Mrs. Martha Ford,” the team said in the release. “She and her four children will continue to be involved in the ownership of the franchise, as they have during Mr. Ford’s tenure.”

While Martha Ford will have the controlling interest of the team, it is believed that William Clay Ford Jr. will maintain a prominent role in decision-making. He will remain the Lions vice chairman, a position that he has held since 1995.

By taking over the Lions, Martha Ford joins Virginia Halas McCaskey as the only female principal owners of NFL teams. McCaskey earned controlling interest of the team after her father, George, passed away in 1983. She owns 80 percent of the Bears franchise, along with her children and grandchildren.

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Someone who knows please explain. I didn't know that anyone other than WCF "owned" or had interest in the Lions? Who are the other shareholders? How much stake does MF now control? Are the other shareholders all family? Also, does anyone know is Michigan a community property state?

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Someone who knows please explain. I didn't know that anyone other than WCF "owned" or had interest in the Lions? Who are the other shareholders? How much stake does MF now control? Are the other shareholders all family? Also, does anyone know is Michigan a community property state?

I can't dislike someone for being loyal to their employees. It takes a lot of courage to do the unpopular thing out of loyalty.

Once after a coaching change Ford heard about a fired assistants wife going through cancer treatment. The assistant coach was re hired and ford said that man is an employee until I say otherwise.

If Ford fired employees as much as the fans wanted certain posters would be crying about how he never gave anyone a chance.

Ford was a good man by all accounts and did a lot for Detroit charity. Jr is taking the helm, he has been in control for awhile now given his dads recent health/age. Martha is the actual owner of the lions now. The lions are staying in the Ford family and I am happy about that.

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“Pursuant to long-established succession plans, Mr. Ford’s controlling interest in the Lions passes to Mrs. Martha Ford,” the team said in the release. “She and her four children will continue to be involved in the ownership of the franchise, as they have during Mr. Ford’s tenure.”

While Martha Ford will have the controlling interest of the team, it is believed that William Clay Ford Jr. will maintain a prominent role in decision-making. He will remain the Lions vice chairman, a position that he has held since 1995.

Martha Ford, not William Clay Ford Jr., taking over Detroit Lions ownership | Audibles - SI.com

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I can't dislike someone for being loyal to their employees. It takes a lot of courage to do the unpopular thing out of loyalty.

Once after a coaching change Ford heard about a fired assistants wife going through cancer treatment. The assistant coach was re hired and ford said that man is an employee until I say otherwise.

If Ford fired employees as much as the fans wanted certain posters would be crying about how he never gave anyone a chance.

Ford was a good man by all accounts and did a lot for Detroit charity. Jr is taking the helm, he has been in control for awhile now given his dads recent health/age. Martha is the actual owner of the lions now. The lions are staying in the Ford family and I am happy about that.

I agree, to an extent. He could have helped out people while still attempting to compete. Want to help the assistant's wife, offer to pay for 1005 of her treatments, give her full access to the Henry Ford Health System and give her free lodging in a hotel would do just as well. He certainly could have afforded to take care of friends/former employees and hire some competent ones to run the team.

Like others have said, by all accounts a great man and for that I am sad to hear that he has passed, but that being said...this will most likely be in the best interest of the team.

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I agree, to an extent. He could have helped out people while still attempting to compete. Want to help the assistant's wife, offer to pay for 1005 of her treatments, give her full access to the Henry Ford Health System and give her free lodging in a hotel would do just as well. He certainly could have afforded to take care of friends/former employees and hire some competent ones to run the team.

Like others have said, by all accounts a great man and for that I am sad to hear that he has passed, but that being said...this will most likely be in the best interest of the team.

Yes, he was a very charitable man. He did things out of kindness, not for publicity or to make money. Just a great humanitarian.

He had a flaw, a very public one. His inability to hire someone to run his football team successfully. By all accounts he wanted to win, very badly. His smashing of a TV after a tough loss is something we can all relate to. I just feel bad that he never got to lift the championship trophy.

But at the end of the day, we need to judge a man (or woman) on their character, not their accomplishments. And on that end he was a great man.

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“Pursuant to long-established succession plans, Mr. Ford’s controlling interest in the Lions passes to Mrs. Martha Ford,” the team said in the release. “She and her four children will continue to be involved in the ownership of the franchise, as they have during Mr. Ford’s tenure.”

While Martha Ford will have the controlling interest of the team, it is believed that William Clay Ford Jr. will maintain a prominent role in decision-making. He will remain the Lions vice chairman, a position that he has held since 1995.

Martha Ford, not William Clay Ford Jr., taking over Detroit Lions ownership | Audibles - SI.com

It sounds like there is plenty of potential for it to get messy for the Lions when Martha passes. Does the NFL have rules requiring there be a 'majority' owner? If so, one sibling is going to have to buy out the interests of at least one of the others if there is a 4 way division of the team shares.

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It sounds like there is plenty of potential for it to get messy for the Lions when Martha passes. Does the NFL have rules requiring there be a 'majority' owner? If so, one sibling is going to have to buy out the interests of at least one of the others if there is a 4 way division of the team shares.

I would assume Martha's will, has that issue addressed.

Not sure why some posters assume their will be some sort of battle every one has money in that family and by all account seem fine. Ford Jr. Donates more money to charity than most of us will see in several lifetimes. I really don't see the family bickering over the lions, as there is enough to go around.

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I'm not sure why I understand that skepticism.

What Does It Take to Be the Owner of an NFL Franchise? | Bleacher Report

The NFL makes potential owners meet quite a few more of these requirements than any of the other major sports. For example, any group looking to buy an NFL team must be led by a single individual who owns at least 30 percent of the team, although a family member can account for one-third of that stake.

The reason for that is to prevent large ownership groups, such as the one that recently bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for an eye-popping $2 billion-plus, from buying a team. The NFL wants each franchise led by a single "face," and the NFL gets what it wants.

The Green Bay Packers are the lone exception. Their "communal" ownership predates NFL rules and is unique not only in the NFL, but in all major American professional sports. The world-famous soccer club FC Barcelona of La Liga is owned in a similar fashion by fans of the team.

However, as Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reported back in 2009, the NFL recently amended those rules to allow teams owned by the same person or family for more than a decade to be "led" by an owner who needs hold only a 10 percent stake in the team.

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I would assume Martha's will, has that issue addressed.

Not sure why some posters assume their will be some sort of battle every one has money in that family and by all account seem fine. Ford Jr. Donates more money to charity than most of us will see in several lifetimes. I really don't see the family bickering over the lions, as there is enough to go around.

Martha can write any kind of will she wants, that won't stop her children from fighting it if they don't like it. Or her will may simply divide the shares and leave it to WCFjr and his siblings to work out how to keep or sell the team. As I thought (thank-you Oblong), the NFL does have a rule for minimum ownership, so in the absence of an arm's length sale, some non-equal division has to be made. If we assume an NFL franchise is worth close to a billion $, those are plenty of pitfalls for 4 siblings coming to an complex agreement.

Note, I'm not predicting an issue, just pointing out it's a very high potential situation. IIRC, I read that WCFjr had to do a lot of leg work to get the family together to force out Jacques Nasser. I sort of got the impression from the stories at that time that the family are not a real close group (certainly not like the Bushs or Kennedys for instance) but maybe the lack of consensus was more with the HFII side of the family than between WCFjrs and his siblings.

Edited by Gehringer_2

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