The Wrap by Ron Judd
Lost in the sound and PR-firm-engineered fury over the proposed new Seattle NBA arena is the conveniently obscured moral bottom line.
Reasonable arguments can be made either way for the fiscal sanity of a large public loan to a franchise ownership group that includes at least one .0000000001 percenter. But locals with even marginal scruples would reject the notion purely out of principle.
Why? Because the man who benefits most from a new publicly financed Seattle arena is smug, conniving NBA commissioner David Stern, inarguably the most loathed individual in recent Western Washington history.
Stern not only bullied, lied to and mocked Seattle throughout a decade of previous arena and ownership issues, he got the last laugh by exacting revenge, making an example of a city that dared defy him by spiriting its franchise off to Oklahoma City. Calling him a snake is offensive to all things that slither.
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Yet a significant slice of the city, led by desperado Mayor Mike McGinn — such a cheerleader for this, he’s being fitted for a skirt — can’t wait to jump back in bed with the same man, same morally and economically bankrupt organization. Their new publicly financed playhouse would limply accede, four years later, to the precise extortion demand made by Stern in the Sonics fiasco.
Seriously, folks. Have you no dignity?
It’s like taking out a jumbo loan to set up a furnished penthouse apartment next door for a rich former acquaintance who wrecked your car, beat your dog and stole your girlfriend.
More other-cheek turning:
Yeah, Yeah, we’ve Heard it: “Stern won’t be commissioner forever.” No, but at the other end of the strings that move his mouth are shady, public-trough-feeding NBA owners, all but two of whom endorsed Stern’s Seattle thuggery. They’re not going anywhere. If Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer want to crawl back to them, they should pay for their own kneepads.
Speaking of Hoops: So, so sad to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder get spanked in the NBA Finals. May the ill-gotten franchise suffer a curse throughout its history — or until the NBA moves it to Wenatchee, whichever comes first.
Justice at Last: Noted baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was acquitted on all counts of charges that he lied to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs: “I am very thankful,” the pitcher said through a small opening in his gigantic, steroid-swollen head.
More on That: The verdict clears the way for Clemens to compete in the 2012 Tour de France.
Meanwhile, In Egypt: The country was on edge as it waited to find out who won the first post-Hosni Mubarak presidential election. In the interest of international goodwill, the U.S. Supreme Court stood ready to step in, if asked, to award the presidency to George W. Bush.
Speaking of Elections: Mitt Romney, R-Obamacare, is mulling VP candidates, and he probably needs a game changer. Our Hollywood sources — who do not include balding actor Corbin Bernsen — report that Bristol Palin is tanned, surgically altered, rested and ready.
And Finally: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who reportedly always has wanted a lanai, has purchased the Hawaiian isle of Lanai and not surprisingly will change its name to Larry.
Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org