clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Don't hide behind sexism to defend Sonics vote

Once again, special interests with more "important" things have used the SuperSonics as political ammo for their causes. Once again the SuperSonics are being use as the "example" as to "why" blah blah is broken, needs more money, etc. And now, let's throw in the very troubling "victim." The latest turn in the sick politics that continues to break our hearts and whittle down our will by the people who think they know it all.

First, I'm crushed, heartbroken, and shocked by yesterday's vote.

It brings me urge to write about something more deep and troubling.

The Politics Of The SuperSonics

How did our basketball team become the political volleyball cast among all special interest factions in the City of Seattle and beyond?

Anything that has to do with the Sonics seems to bring all the special interests out of the wood work, giving them a platform on which to stand and equate the Sonics with things like traffic, homelessness, jobs, and now, the newest and perhaps most despicable now (courtesy of Geoff Baker), misogyny.

You can guess by my name that I'm a woman. I'm also a Sonics fan and I'm also for a new arena in the Stadium District of Seattle.

I can tell you that the worst names I've been called as a woman have come from men who worked in the construction and seaport industries.


But even though the majority of these awful things came from those industries, I don't assume all Port of Seattle and construction workers are misogynists. No one will write an article on the vile things those men say day in and day out about women, because of course, they aren't said to women that any one cares about right now. It doesn't fit their agenda.

Which leads me to the purpose of this article.

The SuperSonics have become the easy political target for the politicians and the Port of Seattle, and anyone else who believes their cause is mightier and greater in terms of needs, resources, and attention.

Our SuperSonics, relegated to the sick politics of the City of Seattle, the Port of Seattle, and the State of Washington. Every politician has used the SuperSonics as a platform for or against something, anytime we got close to making something happen, most of these issues now forgotten, everyone moved on, and still no Sonics.

Traffic, homelessness, "good jobs" versus "not good jobs", taxes, on and on.

And still, no SuperSonics. Because of politics and special interest groups. All proclaiming their love of the Sonics "just not like this" then a few years later, that group is gone and a new group pops up.

The City of Seattle currently owns the rights to the name SuperSonics. The City of Seattle accepted a payment from Clay Bennett to let the Sonics leave town and yet chose to keep the rights to the team name and shared history. Yet what has the City of Seattle done these past five years?

They've studied, to death, the location of a new arena proposed in the Stadium District. One that met I-91, one with a land owner who stood by as the City tinkered, dinked, and amended and further studied and held meetings for almost five years now. Approved by city planning staff, including transportation staff, still, it was all deemed wrong by special interests.

All to bring us to yesterday afternoon.

Five council members, who happen to be women, voted it down.

And enter the next phase of SuperSonics politics, anyone who tries to hold these five women accountable is somehow misogynistic.

Last night I received an email from Rob Johnson (and I'm sure most other Sonics fans received the same) with the following paragraph (you can read the full email here):

Let me also say that while we are disappointed in the result of today's vote, I am also disappointed by the misogynistic language coming from some supporters of the Sonics Arena. As a father, brother, son, and husband, I know that these attacks have no place in our civic discourse.

Now I haven't called Bagshaw any demeaning names, I've asked her to be accountable for her actions and choices. I'll now ask the same of the other four councilwomen who voted against.

What I fear now is the broad brush stroke of misogyny when these council members are questioned. I'm not okay with the dumb comments of a few people, but "few" and "some" seems to be the primary discourse today, directing attention away from the true issue and question: why did they vote this down? And more specifically, Sally Bagshaw's role when she was a supporter three years ago.

I also listen to KJR throughout the day and never have I felt uncomfortable with their reporting against Bagshaw and what she's done to Sonics fans.

Presumably, according to the paper of record in Seattle, the other four women were upset that Bagshaw was getting called out to be accountable for her actions and this may have swayed them.

So I guess these four women equate Bashaw as a "victim?" And so, in solidarity with said "victim" they vote the street vacation down. Okay.

So much for equal rights. So much for electing council members who put their personal biases and subjective thought processes aside to make informed decisions and choices.

These five women aren't victims. They're elected officials, who, based on their public speech platforms yesterday, show that they either were against it when they were elected, or didn't care enough about it to take it seriously, but took themselves seriously enough to make their impassioned speeches for whatever they want to draw attention to.

Enough of the politicizing of the Sonics. Hold these five council members accountable not just for the sake of the Sonics but for equal rights.