Dear New Sonics Ownership Group (Part 3) ...
"We didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle." Aubrey McClendon, a member of the Oklahoma-based Sonics ownership group.
Notice that no one is saying that it wasn’t actually said.
Notice that no one is saying he was talking about something else.
Notice that no one is laughing.
There is no way to say that a comment like that was taken out of context.
There is no way to back track and say that someone misspoke.
There is no way to get back credibility once something like that is said.
I have wanted to be optimistic at times during this ongoing game between the city and the new ownership group for the Sonics.
I have wanted to be optimistic and be proven wrong when my first and gut reaction was to say that the Sonics are a lame duck franchise.
I have wanted to be optimistic and believe that the sports fans and government would find a way to make it happen.
Here’s the thing … I am right back at square one on this thing, just like the day last summer when I heard the Sonics were sold to an out of town group the same day I realized the Lynnwood Hooters had closed its doors. At the time I joked that the Hooters closing was more irritating since it took away my place to watch wrestling pay per views … the truth is that the Sonics leaving bites. Part of me just figured that since this region has survived old Mariners ownership and the Behring era of the Seahawks that something would get done at the last minute and that this was going to be much ado about nothing.
The NBA has a number of problems that are well documented in the public sphere. David Stern is a bit busy right now and frankly has seemed a bit ticked at Seattle anyways. I have had ongoing discussions with sports fan friends about the state of the NBA and what it will take to get it back to being as worth watching as college hoops. The Sonics have been a big part of my sports fan life since I was very, very young. Even though the tickets are ridiculously priced for regular season games that players themselves say don’t matter I still feel an urge to go to games.
For instance, I want to go to the Sonics' home opener this November to see Kevin Durant's first game ... it is hard to get excited to go buy my tickets now ....
I generally don't like public subsidies for pro sports ... because here is the thing ... teams can afford it ... too many have built stadiums privately for that to not be true ... they just don’t want to and because other cities will or have built arenas hoping to lure a team like Seattle away it seems to be necessary.
A major city needs major venues for the arts, entertainment, conventions, and sports. I have gone on the record in print about my feelings for publicly financed sports arenas. However, it doesn’t matter if it should be a certain way when it becomes necessary for it to be another. It has become necessary for the civic leaders of this region to get over their personal philosophical feelings and do what is necessary. We don’t have to like it. There are things that are “more important”. A new arena needs to happen anyway. it absolutely stinks that no matter what happens the Sonics ownership group profits. It doesn't matter if they sell the team, get an arena here in Seattle, or relocate to Oklahoma City; they get their way no matter what. Seattle just needs to get over the fact and realize that all the cards are currently held by untruthful businessmen from Oklahoma.
However, Seattle is now a serious “can’t do” city. The Seattle City Council is an embarrassment in too many ways to count here, but it is clear that they almost want to see the team leave just to prove a point. Good and effective civic leadership used to be a trademark of this region, it no longer is so. Mandatory food waste recycling and publicity stunts by the mayor in regards to loud night clubs is far more important at city hall these days.
The KJR jocks seemed to believe in some manner that there was a chance but even they are breaking their ankles jumping off the arena possibility bandwagon ... the Muckelshoot option? I hear that it is dead before arrival in the Tim Donaghy era ...
Sherman Alexie said it best to the Nick Licata's of the world in The Stranger last fall ... I won't repeat it here ... just go google it and read his rant ... I don’t feel like dropping an F Bomb here today …
I also want to be wrong.