01.28.08

Sonics Owner Delivers The Kiss-Off

Posted in Basketball, Free Expression at 9:32 pm by

Police efforts on behalf of James Dolan to quash public dissent have been previously noted in this space, and with all due disrespect to J.D.’s fascistic tendencies, there’s a guy from Oklahoma City who might be an even bigger creep. The Seattle Times’ Jayda Evans ran the following letter from Sonics fan Sam Kidder a day after the Sonics’ 103-101 loss to Sacramento.

“Clay Bennett (above), the beloved owner of the Sonics, had the gall to show up at the Sonics-Kings game tonight. When I shared my opinions with him, he had me kicked out of the building! I heard someone mention on sonicscentral that Bennett would be at the game tonight, so I looked for him in the luxury boxes. I spotted him in the box above section 127, sitting with Presti and Bill Russell. Of course my girlfriend and I moved over to the seats right below him. I looked up at him and started chatting with him. Here’s the dialogue that followed…

Sam: Clay, what’s up? You’re a thief Clay!
Clay: shrugs, smirks and blows me a kiss (I swear to God this is no lie)
Sam: I’ve been a season ticket holder since age 10. Don’t steal my team!!!
Clay: makes a face of mock pity
Sam: Sell the Sonics!!!
Clay: walks to the back of the suite, never to reappear

[Thirty] seconds later, two Key arena police officers and a street-clothed man pulled me and my girlfriend out of our seats. They asked for my ID, confiscated my tickets, and escorted me out of the building. I asked the plain-clothed man if he worked for the police or Bennett, and he said “Both.” He then told me I needed to show more respect or else I’d be banned from the arena. I told him I’d be back every game…

In retrospect, I was a little out of control but it is still ludicrous that Bennett would have me kicked out despite the fact that I didn’t utter a profane word.”

I recall NBA commissioner David Stern alluding to a “social contract” following the brawl in Auburn Hills. For all the Association’s concern over dress codes, referee gambling, etc., at what point does Stern address the embarrassment caused by the likes of Dolan and Bennett?

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