Jonah Keri writing for ESPN's "Page 2" has come up with a list of the most hated coaches, GM's, and team owners in the 4 major sports leagues. It is an interesting read, and has some specific relevance to Seattle sports franchises.
Coming in at # 15 is Ken Behring. #26 is Clay Bennett. #32 is Jeff Smulyan.
It is worth noting that Bennett made the list after only owning the team for roughly 1 year.
I have generally tried to stay out of the fray of Bennett bashing, and remain more focused on the positive things going on with this team. But I really had to laugh, and think this ranking of Bennett was justifiable. In a very short period of team ownership he has done little more than alienate an entire region of our country, anger and frustrate the vast majority of his existing fan base, and repeatedly and continually threatened to move the Seattle Sonics. Adding fuel to that fire by putting in a half-hearted effort to make actual progress on an arena deal. Bennett has antagonized at every juncture.
Now contrast that with the effort by some of the greatest fans in the NBA and WNBA. Guys like our own Brian Robinson. Brian and the SOS&S team have put together a coalition of people who might actually get an arena deal done. They have done this all on out of pocket expenses, personal time, with no financial reward. Really, if the teams stay, guys like Brian Robinson only stand to loose more money through their ongoing support of the teams, where Bennett stands to gain millions of dollars.
Today I want to lift up those who have been putting in the effort, making a difference. Volunteers who are helping shape the discussion about whether the Sonics and Storm will remain in the Seattle region. I know we all congratulate Brian when he posts something about progress, or we cheer him on when he digs his thorn a bit deeper into Clay Bennett's side. In reality we all aren't seeing the toll this sacrifice of love takes on all the SOS&S team. How it affects their families, friends, and businesses. Believe me it does. And it is appreciated. Really.
So here's your chance. Put a little gas back into the volunteers' tanks. We need to encourage those who are putting the effort in, and we also need to seriously consider what our own personal level of commitment is. Can you give your time, your talents, or your finances to keep this effort going forward? Can you take a few minutes to thank people like Michelle who work behind the scenes making sure everything gets coordinated? Will you take a few hours to show up at the next SOS&S event?
I point you to the Save our Sonics and Storm home page. Get signed up. Pass this link onto everyone you know, including those no longer in the Seattle area. I know many of us here are passionate about this, but we are really just the tip of the iceberg. There is still a long road ahead of us, and we will be needing every resource possible if we are to thwart the efforts of #26 on the ESPN's list of worst GM's, coaches, and team owners.