|1.||U.S. History. a Northerner who went to the South after the Civil War and became active in Republican politics, esp. so as to profiteer from the unsettled social and political conditions of the area during Reconstruction.|
|2.||any opportunistic or exploitive outsider: Our bus company has served this town for years, but now the new one run by carpetbaggers from the city is stealing our business. “carpetbagger. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/carpetbagger (accessed: August 14, 2007).|
Well, maybe reverse-carpetbagged would be more accurate. I think we’ve all seen the comments of a certain Aubrey McClendon, minority owner of the Sonice, on moving those Sonics to Oklahoma City: “But we didn’t buy the team to keep it in Seattle; we hoped to come here.”
Now of course, there’s been a statement issued that McClendon’s comments were merely his personal views, not reflective of the ownership group, etc., etc., etc.
Yeah, whatever. I don’t think I’m the only one here thinking McClendon was being forthright in expressing his intentions. It also means counter to traditional carpetbagging, as the Southerners just pulled a fast one on the Northerners (not that either Oklahoma or Washington was a state during the Civil War/War Between the States/War of Southern Aggression). Wouldn’t you love to have seen the look on David Stern’s face when he saw that quote hit the media?
Stern’s in a pretty rough spot with this one. Historically, David Stern has been a big supporter of home rule, that is to say, franchises stay put if there isn’t a big ‘ole hairy problem that dictates the move. In this case, the lease at Key Arena seems to be a big ‘ole hairy problem. Stern’s been publically vocal on it being a barrier to doing business in Seattle, which isn’t really like him. On the other hand, he seems genuinely awestruck by the reception the Hornets were given in Oklahoma City and grateful that they bailed the league out of a tight spot after Hurricane Katrina. He can’t really serve both fan bases at the same time.
This leaves us, the onlookers with two questions:
1. Have the Sonics’ negotiations with the city of Seattle been “my way or the highway” with both parties, since it seems at least one of the new owners would prefer the highway and nobody’s singing the city’s praises very loudly?
2. How do the Sonics think they’re going to get out of that lease running through 2010? ‘Cause from where I’m sitting, the city would gladly bind them as a lame duck for a couple years, and I’m not so sure it hasn’t been earned.