For the second time, Kevin Johnson over the weekend inelegantly implied that Seattle fans did not in 2006, 2007 or 2008 respond as vociferously, effectively and passionately as Sacramentans have in 2011, 2012 and 2013. This came out as "they weren't able to demonstrate fan support." It's not something I'd be comfortable saying: while Sonics fans were not effective in stopping the Clay Bennett Freight Train, they did literally everything they could short of handcuffing themselves to Kevin Durant or strapping themselves on Nick Collison's shoulders. In my opinion, they did an exemplary job raising awareness and setting the stage for the potential acquisition of a team.
But KJ has now said it twice in public. And our friends at Sonics Rising are in a tizzy about it, requesting an apology from our mayor and calling him a liar.
This is ridiculous.
KJ has constantly -- constantly -- commended Seattle. The ownership group. The government. The fans. Constantly KJ has said Seattle deserves a team and is a great NBA city. His point is that it should not come at the expense of great and deserving NBA city Sacramento. A city he is paid to represent and lead.
Oh, the horror of a mayor putting the welfare of a city he was elected to lead at the expense of the feelings of people in a different, far-removed city! A sign American civility has failed, no doubt.
Are we really going to sit here and quibble over KJ's phrasing when it appears a major chunk of Seattle's presentation to NBA owners was focused on ripping Sacramento as a market? When the "classy" fan leaders on the Seattle side of the equation maliciously attack a Sacramentan (in this case Carmichael Dave) because they don't like his style? When those same classy fan leaders implore their charges to not make it city vs. city, fan vs. fan ... then spend half of their time calling the other city's investment group clowns?
There's a reason they keep coming back to talking about Sacramento, Sacramentans and KJ. Because in some ways I think a number of those in Seattle -- not all, just some, and particularly those who are the loudest, including the folks currently taking issue with KJ -- feel guilty for how easy it was to flip their opinions on NBA relocation. They know what it's like to stare down an opponent with a new arena, a pliable city government, gobs of money and a purchase agreement for the franchise they love. They stared down Oklahoma City. And now they are that opponent. It's like when Lindsay Lohan's character becomes a Plastic in Mean Girls. It was a gradual morph, and it's basically complete. All that's left is victory. All they want is victory, just like the victory their old opponent once had. They can see it. They can taste it. They've done all the dirty work of becoming their tormentors, and they want the sweet, sweet pay-off.
And KJ's trying to rip it away. And despite the fact these particular fans were once trying to be their city's KJs, they can't ignore the smell of victory. It's all that matters to them. It's all they want. So they flail at the opponent they once were with no regard for logic, irony or the very principles they once bleated from Beacon Hill. The particular few in many ways have become little Clay Bennetts, worshipping at the altar of their very own bearded Clay Bennett. And they feel guilty not because they care more about themselves than us. They feel guilty because the transition was so, so easy. Changing from a virtuous David to a sword-wielding Goliath was so, so easy.
That's why they attack. They aren't really fighting with KJ or Dave or me or you. They're fighting with their own consciences. They are trying to make themselves believe that Sacramento 2013 is not Seattle 2008: that we are inferior, that KJ is a liar, that Dave is a huckster, that our deal is a boondoggle, that our city is not As Great As Seattle. That's why they attack. They are looking for absolution, and to get it they are willing to tear us down.
"I'm not Clay Bennett. I'm Not Clay Bennett! I'M NOT CLAY BENNETT!"
Whatever helps you click 'post' with a straight face and clear conscience, friends.
We're not going to ban anyone from discussing Sonics Rising in this post, though I kindly request civility and some measure of on-topic-ness. Strive higher, Sacramento.