While writing about the pending hijack of the Seattle SuperSonics by new owner Clay Bennett, ESPN’s Bill Simmons has published numbers and numbers of emails from frustrated (and rightly so) Sonics fans.
Today, Simmons tried to offer solutions or ideas for Sonics fans to retailiate against Bennett and the NBA:
Anyway, as soon as the third quarter ends for one of Seattle’s upcoming home games, the Sonics fans should simply leave their seats and walk onto the court. Don’t be violent, don’t antagonize anyone … just walk onto the court en masse, and as soon as the court is filled with people, start chanting, “SAVE OUR SONICS!” for 10 minutes straight. Assuming you had 3,000-4,000 people stroll onto the court, there’s no possible way they could arrest everyone, and if they called the game, who cares? You were probably losing the game, anyway. The crucial thing to remember is that it should be done as non-aggressively as possible; the rest of the nation won’t be sympathetic to your cause if you act like jerks. And you shouldn’t chant anything like “BENNETT SUCKS!” or “STERN SUCKS!” You want everything to be as simple and benevolent as possible.
If you could pull this stunt off in a dignified way, it could be incredibly effective and raise the right amount of national awareness for this issue. (In fact, it would be the dominant story of that week and make the sports radio/talk show rotation.) I’m not going to pick the game for you, but I will say that you should pick a Sunday, Monday or Tuesday game so the story (and the highlights) can get national attention for the rest of the work week. Remember, carry yourselves with dignity and don’t act like jerks.
Yes, Bill, a plan where approximately 4,000 fans walk onto the court during a timeout during an NBA game couldn’t possibly go wrong. Yes, be sure to point out numerous times during your column that the fans shouldn’t “act like jerks” and should “act dignified.” Because three-quarters through a NBA game, the fans aren’t at all drunk and can be trusted to act in a civilized manner.
Bill, I understand your frustration at this situation. But asking that thousands of people charge the playing surface of a professional sporting event is asking for trouble and is, for lack of a better term, dumb. Just a few years ago the Palace of Auburn Hills was the setting for a massive brawl between players and fans. Now you want thousands of fans to take the court, and you think that you can count on the fact that out of all those angry, frustrated, and possibly intoxicated spectators, not one will fight a cop, or push another spectator, or perhaps something worse?
Bill, you’re one of my favorite writers, and while I’ve felt you’ve severely ‘lost your fastball’ over the past 6-12 months, the passage I read today was by far your most idiotic of your career. And perhaps more importantly, it was irresponsible.