I always enjoy a little testy conversation because it brings out the honesty in all of us and that was the case last night when Jim Brunner, who I consider to be both a friend and a great journalist asked how I can have no sympathy for the fans of Sacramento. I have also read frequently on SactownRoyalty that comments on this site are generally "insensitive."
I do have great sympathy for the fans down there and I think insensitive is a fair criticism. The word after all means "to not be sensitive or caring" and after years on this grind I would never consider myself anything but desensitized to it all. In reality the more sensitive I am to their plight the harder it is to accomplish my goal which I fully understand benefits one fanbase at at the direct expense of another. The more I care about their feelings the less I can focus on the feelings of people here in Seattle.
Looking back at things I think that the bulk of my resentment towards OKC comes not from their actions, which had pretty lousy consequences but instead from the feeling that everybody involved was dishonest with each other. There was a sense that the fans wouldn't understand the business and the politicians would never understand the fans so the various groups just patronizingly avoided talking to each other because they "just knew there was no way the other group could possibly understand what was going on."
There was just so much burnt emotion, such a stringing out of it all that took a huge toll on the people involved. Its bad enough that they had to rip our team away from us but did we have to suffer so badly in the process? Did it have to be so painful.
So here I am 5 years later and I have this feeling like I understand the situation and its ultimate outcome better than them. I feel the need to be honest to the point of being blunt as a form of "ripping off the band-aid and with some really perverse sense of confidence that at the end of the day this is how we are going to wind up talking to each other. Ultimately the only way for any fan to process this is to reduce it to a matter of fact business transaction so I may as well skip the drama and just get right to it.
I want this process to be short because I know it will be painful. I want the sense that it could go either way to be snuffed out because honestly I don't think that it effects the outcome enough to be worth the hardship it creates.
Now I can see how these actions must seem condescending as hell from the perspective of people on the ground in Sacramento who legitimately and respectably want me to be dead wrong. The truth is that an "I am going to be honest because I think I understand this better than you" attitude IS condescending and IS insensitive and I am sorry that I feel that way.
There is no clear path to good relations with Sacramento right now because our goals and perspectives are so substantially different. If we have confidence in this move it will come across as arrogance. Candor seems too blunt and a lack of candor insincere. Sympathetic comments seem patronizing and matter of fact explanations seem unsympathetic.
My best way to handle it continues to be avoiding their turf. I continue to think it is rude for us to be there in any way, to try to prove any points or explain anything to them. What is going to happen is going to happen and at the end of the day we will have to reconstruct this relationship or move on from it. The conversation now does not help either fan base.