Tuesday, May 22


I think I've been rather clear where I stand on the new stadium debate. I'm not a fan of spending public money on private enterprises, especially when those enterprises routinely lie about their losses, and also use those losses for tax reasons.

The folks at Sonicscentral, conversely, are all for it. And you know what, I can see their point. They admit the Sonics are not a financial priority for the region, and their argument that the team provides a huge emotional boost to this area has merit. Again, I don't agree with it, but I can see where they are coming from.

And, more importantly, they've put their efforts behind that. The saveoursonics site is just the tip of the iceberg. From rallies to trips to Olympia to t-shirts ... these guys have gone all out in a concerted effort to help Clay Bennett's investment.

So when I read this quote from Bennett in the Kansas City Star about the reaction to the stadium failure, well, it flat-out pissed me off.

“No hue and cry, no letters to the editor, nothing by the media or talk on the call-in shows, or no new ideas on how to get it done,” Bennett said. “No private ideas on the table.”

That's just obscene. Here are these fellows at sonicscentral, completely unpaid, devoting all of their free time to help Bennett succeed, and he completely urinates all over their efforts.

I know Bennett is positioning himself to move to another city, or at least intimidate the city/state into getting what he wants, but this is just flat-out lousy. Further, he's lying, if the rumors about the Muckleshoot tribe or David Sabey are to be believed. For crying out loud, how many deals does he expect? Didn't he get the opportunity to buy the team solely because a group of men from Seattle failed to build a stadium in the first place? Does he truly expect us to believe him when he acts shocked that the stadium isn't built within 48 hours of his arrival?

Shame on you, Clay Bennett. I hope David Stern gives you the same treatment he gave the last carpet-bagging owner in the NBA, Bill Laurie, and sends you packing back home to Oklahoma.


Anonymous said...

I waited a bit to post on this article and finally posted the link and some thoughts at sonicscentral. Just came by and saw you were already on top of it. Bennett going for all or nothing or just nothing?


Anonymous said...

This doesnt seem like the way you pursue "something in the middle". But I guess you can always try to tack way down course, before crashing on the rocks. But will the "crew" save Bennett after this? I don't think they will on anything close to his currrent terms.


Anonymous said...

How about blaming the politicians too besides Bennett (I give him a share too)? They're the ones who started this mess and should be accountable as well!

Anonymous said...

I'm still holding out for an 11th-hour miracle here, that Sabey leads a group of "Medina Millionaires" or something along those lines.

The last minute is when things usually get done anyway, but, I think all Bennett is doing now is trying to show that he still means business about moving this thing. He's got to at least show that he's out there acting like some sort of free agent to get the locals anxious.

But KC is a concern, more than OKC, as the arena is better, a bigger shot at revenue streams vs. OKC, and the NBA was at least once in KC. Reading an article like this just makes me ill.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Sonicscentral regular and I am against using public money for the arena. I also see the other side of the arguement, whereby the Sonics have been an institution in Seattle for 40 years, and that there is a strong desire to keep the team in the region and all that. But what is most stinky about this whole debate is Bennett's behavior throughout. He talks about building a "world class" arena (as long as somebody else pays for 75% of it) and winning championships (while the best coaches are being snatched up without a show of interest by our Sonics). Then, when he doesn't get any love from the legislature, he starts bad mouthing everyone. Hes a major a-hole in my book


Paul said...

How did the politicians start this mess? They didn't sell the team to a carpet-bagger, then ask for a gizzillion dollar, tax-payer funded, mega Pepsi arena that had zero chance of being built.

I hate politicians as much as the next guy, but other than Licata, they really didn't have anything to do with this. Blame the NBA and their lust for money. Blame Bennett and his vulture-like instincts of picking the bones of down-trodden teams, but don't blame the politicians. For once, they stood up to big money corporate America and said "stick it"!

Trust me, I want the Sonics to stay as much as anyone in this town, but I'm not going to kiss Bennett's ass and beg him to keep OUR team. We shouldn't be groveling to this guy--we should be kicking his ass back to the dustbowl that spawned him.

Anonymous said...

I can see where you want to critize the politicians, but to say "they started this mess" isn't entirely true. After all, the politicians were the ones who went along with the Sonics' demand for a refurbished Key Arena. It wasn't the politicians who then turned around, less than half way through the lease, and claimed the stadium sucked eggs. That was the Sonics, not the politicians.

That might not have been your point; if you mean to say that the politicians' hands are dirty in this situation, well, I'd be more likely to agree with you. I'm somewhere on the fence between Paul's side and the pro-stadium side. I can see the merit in building a stadium, and I wish the politicians would agree to find some common ground, rather than just acting like the Moral Majority and using the "millionaire athlete" argument all the time.

Anonymous said...

Bennett is a jerk, good post Pete. Could he possibly make any more blunders? I'm tempted to think it's all an effort to debase the situation here in Seattle to the point where he says he has to move because the public/government is so against him. But maybe that's giving him too much credit.

I think I read a brief blurb a while ago from a Times columnist arguing for the re-model of the Key Arena. Seems unlikely now, but that's what I'm hoping for. Schultz wanted it done, but wasn't willing to contribute enough money. The $$ Bennett has said the team could pay towards the new arena/center is more than enough to cover the contribution that Schultz was originally proposing....

And props to the Sonicscentral guys for fighting the good fight.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, Mark (and not just because you agreed with me, although that helps). I think fixing up the Key is a great idea, although Sabey's idea of locating the arena adjacent the Boeing Field is even better, in that the arena would be right next to major transit and freeways, as opposed to the awful drive from I-5 to the Key, which always seems to be a pain in the neck. Either of the solutions is better than Renton, which is conveniently located next to Shari's Restaurant and the worst traffic imaginable.

The likelihood of fixing up the Key is pretty slim, though, because of Van Dyke's initiative from last fall that forbids the City of Seattle from spending money on new pro sports arenas. The Boeing Field option is much more likely, and probably better (with the exception of making the Key a white elephant).

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your site Mr nussbaum. I see how your chaps are being pretty worn raw by Bennett & Co and Schultz before him. It's very annoying to see owners not care about anything but money. I'm seeing this to a degree (although the public end isn't being displayed as prominently like it is with bennett) with the Maloof's and Sacramento. They act like spending money on basketball players makes the city a better place to live or something. Even though the bulk of them don't even live in the same county. But anyway I hope the sonics stay in Seattle. And bennett loses ownership. He's a jackass.

brokejumper said...

I can't say what I want to about this man because of all your virgin ears, but I just can't believe that anyone thinks he wants to keep the team here now.

Anonymous said...

The politicians arn't going to do anything about it because they have no incentive to.

Anonymous said...

The politicians arn't going to do anything about it because they have no incentive to.

dunces said...

Clay Bennet is a jerk and an idiot. If only I had that much money, I'd buy that team right off him.