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January 28, 2008 10:15 AM

The fan boot

Posted by Jayda Evans

The fan boot is apparently the new dance created by the Sonics organization. It's very Seattle to be passive-aggressive, but since when can a team tell a ticket-buying public how to feel? You may have read the last post about a fan being booted from Sunday's Sonics loss to Sacramento and that incident triggered a few others to e-mail me saying they had similar incidences. Only these people weren't vile, just voicing their opinion without the use of curse words.

Well, the aptly named Sam Kidder gave me permission to use his name and e-mail on the blog to detail what happened with him and Sonics chairman Clay Bennett on Sunday. I'll give it to you the way Kidder sent it to me because I found it amusing.

Adding more humor (irony?) to the link of events is that the Sonics' hope of ending their 13-game losing streak were booted by the Kings' Kevin Martin in a buzzer-beating shot. And who has the autographed shoes? Rookie Kevin Durant. He got them fresh off the court from Martin following the game.

Anyway, here's Kidder's e-mail about Bennett:

"Clay Bennett, the beloved owner of the Sonics, had the gall to show up at the Sonics-Kings game tonight. When I shared my opinions with him, he had me kicked out of the building! I heard someone mention on sonicscentral that Bennett would be at the game tonight, so I looked for him in the luxury boxes. I spotted him in the box above section 127, sitting with Presti and Bill Russell. Of course my girlfriend and I moved over to the seats right below him. I looked up at him and started chatting with him. Here's the dialogue that followed...

Sam: Clay, what's up? You're a thief Clay!
Clay: shrugs, smirks and blows me a kiss (I swear to God this is no lie)
Sam: I've been a season ticket holder since age 10. Don't steal my team!!!
Clay: makes a face of mock pity
Sam: Sell the Sonics!!!
Clay: walks to the back of the suite, never to reappear

[Thirty] seconds later, two Key arena police officers and a street-clothed man pulled me and my girlfriend out of our seats. They asked for my ID, confiscated my tickets, and escorted me out of the building. I asked the plain-clothed man if he worked for the police or Bennett, and he said "Both." He then told me I needed to show more respect or else I'd be banned from the arena. I told him I'd be back every game...

In retrospect, I was a little out of control but it is still ludicrous that Bennett would have me kicked out despite the fact that I didn't utter a profane word."

UPDATE: The Sonics said this morning that Bennett was not involved at all in Kidder's removal. It was a decision made by KeyArena security and Seattle Police. "[Mr. Bennett] actually was surprised they did it and didn't think it was necessary," a spokesperson wrote in an e-mail.

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Posted by Mike in Pioneer Square

10:39 AM, Jan 28, 2008

What a jerk - not Clay, I mean Kidder.

Whether you like Bennett or not his actions were extremely immature and counterproductive. In fact that's the kind of idiotic behavior that might make a guy like Clay move the team anyway out of spite at the people who have treated him rudely.

Kidder has no idea what kind of negotiations might be going on in the background. He sounds like a real pinhead of a "fan".

I don't care how long Kidder has been a season ticket holder, I'm glad he got kicked out and I hope he never gets to come back.

Posted by Sam Kidder

11:52 AM, Jan 28, 2008

Mike, what is more rude and immature: me calling Bennett a thief or him blowing a kiss at me? It's because of pacifists like you that we are going to lose 41 years of tradition. Face the facts, Mike. As much as you would like to believe that Bennett is working diligently behind the scenes to craft a local arena solution, all of his actions indicate that he wants to pick up and move to Cowtown ASAP. Did you read the Sonics' recent legal argument that the city of Seattle would not be any worse off without the Sonics? Does that sound like the language of a man who wants to keep the team here?

Anyone interested in contributing to the airplane banner should send an email to We are going to fly a banner that says "Stop Clay - Sonics Must Stay" at the All-Star game for all the NBA owners to see.

(I would like to point out that I am in no way affiliated with Brian Robinson and the Save Our Sonics organization)

Posted by ixt323

11:58 AM, Jan 28, 2008

wow - couldn't disagree more Mike. at the core of every true sports fan is an unbridled love for his team (and thereby utter disdain for anyone who attempts to take that team from him). it sounds like kidder was far from out of control - just passionate.

bennett and his cronies need to realize that people in seattle do love the sonics, and fans have a right to be angry at bennett for the way he has handled the entire situation.

Posted by Bob

12:04 PM, Jan 28, 2008

Could you please get an interview with the Sonics, Sam Presti and PJ Carlesimo and ask them if they are satisfied with their defense and offense? Is it the best they could offer to the rookies and bench players? How come the player like Gelabale is not having time as a point guard at 6'7", which is the trend nowadays?

Posted by .

12:11 PM, Jan 28, 2008

Sam, Sam, Sam, you needed to get this on camera and up on YouTube. What were you thinking!

Let this be lesson to all; if your going to go after the big dog Clay, at least have a camera in the background rolling!

Posted by Saltherring

12:53 PM, Jan 28, 2008

If I had to choose which person to believe (Bennett or Sam Kidder) as to the reason for the arena ejection, I'd have to side with Sam, who I've never met. Sam has an even record with me, so I have no reason to disbelieve him. Bennett is a proven liar, 'outed' by his own business partner, who stated the Sonics were purchased with the intent of moving the team to OKC.

Posted by SOrr

1:07 PM, Jan 28, 2008

I truly don’t understand what it will take to get the majority of the public to realize how little respect Clay Bennett has shown the fans of the Sonics and the City of Seattle. Mr. Bennett himself has attacked Sonics fans and the city of Seattle numerous times both in his lawsuit to break the Key Arena lease and in the media. As a lifelong resident and season ticket holder for the past 6 seasons, I was admittedly leery when Mr. Bennett first purchased the team but was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for the “good faith” effort he promised. Looking back now it is clear that there was never any intention on the part of Mr. Bennett and the ownership group to negotiate or keep the team in the Seattle area baring ridiculously favorable terms for the ownership group. The comments of Aubrey McClendon cemented in my mind that the fans of Seattle have been “had” from the beginning.

To put blind faith in a man who, if he has proven anything it is that he can’t be trusted, is skirting a fine line between naïve and stupid. Don’t delude yourself into thinking that Mr. Bennett gives one rip what the fans of the Sonics and the citizens of Seattle say; he’s only looking out for himself and his own interests. If we offer him a plush stadium deal it won’t matter how many insults have been hurled at him, he’ll take the money in a heartbeat. If the team is going to get moved (which unfortunately at this point seems the most likely scenario) I for one would rather see the Sonics fans get robbed kicking and screaming rather than killing him with kindness on his way out the door.

Posted by getmoney206

1:49 PM, Jan 28, 2008

These "new" Sonics fans are killin me. No passion at all. Then the "true" fans get loud and cheery and show the passion and give there opinion they get vilified by these "new" fans who want a Starbucks type atmosphere. I got kicked out of the Toronto game for stayin true. When were down I had to listen and watch the Raptors fans gettin all happy and cocky, but when it was our turn to get the same way they couldnt handle it. It was sad becuz a small few so called Sonics fans got my section booted. Even during our ribbing of Raptors fans we asked around to people if we were out of line and got a lot of laughs and a NO you guys are fine, but 2 people didnt agree and we got the boot. probably this guy MIke was one of those guys.

Posted by JJ

2:19 PM, Jan 28, 2008

Jayda, why not write a full fledged column about all this? This display of Sonics fans' passion is exactly the kind of story that should be spread to the masses, so the people out there can see that Sonics fans still exist.

What a great story of passion in the middle of all this relocation/legal battle crap: A fan getting kicked out of a game for voicing opinions to the owner. People out there think SOnics fans don't care, this is proof of the exact opposite. To me, this could possibly be turned into a positive story of fans' passion. In a season and YEAR of negative Sonics news, Jayda, show us fans some love and report the hell out of this story.

Posted by BROY4MVP

2:23 PM, Jan 28, 2008

If he didn't think it was necessary, MAYBE HE WOULD STOP HIS FANS GETTING THROWN OUT. How can you even believe a press release from these people? He didn't know. Clay Bennett is not the worst person in the world, far from it unless (wouldn't be suprised) he has bought into the world's wars, yet this man is a disgusting, honorless, POS. You just don't do this to people, even for "good business". I am from Portland, but the NW needs to stay together. SAVE THE SONICS!!!! Burn Clay

Posted by SonicsFan2008

6:48 PM, Jan 28, 2008

Hey Mike you need to lay off Kidder a bit because the guy has a right to express his opinion of the way how Bennett has treated many of the fans of this town! I think your comments to Kidder is uncalled for and I you're a typical Seattle idiot that have no brain!~

Posted by Michael C.

8:28 PM, Jan 28, 2008

Mike, you're an idiot, and a true die hard Sonics fan wouldn't have made the ridiculous statements you just did. You obviously don't have any deep emotional interest in this franchise....and have no idea what true fans are going through. I am so pissed off at Bennett in ways I can't even put into words here. I tell you what, if he would have blown me a kiss, I would have charged after him, and security would have had to hold me back. He demands more respect??? Respect for what??? Being an A$$hole millionaire???? that doesn't demand respect....or does he want respect for hijacking OUR franchise??? Tell you what Clay....if you care so much about this team, and want respect....why don't you come down and mingle with the fans during the game instead of hiding out up in a luxury box?? Yeah...we all know why you won't...tough guy.

Posted by Phillip

8:47 PM, Jan 28, 2008

"I spotted him in the box above section 127, sitting with Presti and Bill Russell. Of course my girlfriend and I moved over to the seats right below him."

So you have been a season ticket holder since you are ten, yet don’t know there is assigned seating? Anybody who deliberately moves to a different section for an opportunity to trash talk, loses a lot of credibility with me.

"In retrospect, I was a little out of control but it is still ludicrous that Bennett would have me kicked out despite the fact that I didn't utter a profane word."

I guess “fat and ugly” might not be considered profane, but I don’t think they are typically viewed as compliments either. (Yes, I was sitting close enough to your newly squatted section.) Did anybody remind you that it was Squatch’s B-Day and there were tons of kids in the house?

"[Thirty] seconds later, two Key arena police officers and a street-clothed man pulled me and my girlfriend out of our seats. They asked for my ID, confiscated my tickets, and escorted me out of the building."

Was this after they pulled you out the first time, and before you came back and picked up from where you left off? I would be mad too, they should have a 3-strike policy, and it looks like you only got 2 strikes.

I could careless what you think of Clay Bennett, but I don’t think you were kicked out because you hurt his feelings. More than likely the Seattle Center paid ushers and security probably took you out- because you were belligerent.

Posted by ixt323

9:15 PM, Jan 28, 2008

philip - i understand your perspective, but i think it's funny that you were so offended by this. i've been to a game this year where a whole section chanted "f**k Clay bennett" - if your kids can't handle the words Fat and Ugly then they probably shouldn't be at sports games. the first game i ever went to, the guy behind me said "chris kaman is a goofy-a$$ mother******" about 20 times. i don't remember him getting kicked out. clay's precious feelings were protected because he owns the team.

also, isn't this the same guy who hates gay people and made his millions by robbing the earth of its resources? what's more against everything seattle stands for than that?

Posted by exnbafan

11:08 PM, Jan 28, 2008

Mike, pretty much like everyone else on here, I think you're a bonehead for trying to squash someone's passion. if in fact Sam restrained from profanity, he was in no way out of line. But if Phillip is right and Sam got carried away, then he should have been warned and not booted, again if there wasn't any profanity. Phillip, you didn't mention any profanity, just a couple of insults voiced in front of your kids. So I, as a rational human being have to think that you never insult anyone, nor curse in front of your kids. If that is not the case, don't judge, you lack credibility. Clay Clay married into money, he didn't make it in the oil fields. Successful business man, maybe, but it's easy to spend other people's money when you're trying to buy respect. And, finally, this is no slight to Jayda, but she can't really write about the passionate fans of the Sonics as one blogger asked. Not if she wants Clay Clay to continue allowing her access to the Sonics for our reading pleasure. Clay Clay has already shown us this is his team and he will not stand for any vociferous defamation of him on behalf of his team. We are stuck fending for ourselves. Jayda, maybe you can put us in touch with someone on local beat (non-sports) that may be willing to take up this cause. If we create enough noise, maybe Mark Cuban will hear us and vote no. He has already indicated as much. I'm out.

Posted by david1978pdx

11:26 PM, Jan 28, 2008

Bennett is out of control. The guy is a reptile. As a Portlander, I have your back, Sonics fans. No, I'm not worried of Paul Allen moving the Blazers... But I am a Seahawks season ticket holder and have much respect for the other Seattle sports teams. I'll be at the 2/21 game in Portland... Dressed in Blazers gear, and openly supporting the Sonics... The Blazers/Sonics rivalry is probably the most good natured and easy going "rivalries" in the NBA. I would hate to see our brothers up the road lose their team.

Posted by lox

12:45 AM, Jan 29, 2008

Thanks Jayda for putting this in the paper and shedding light on the incident. All Sonics fans should appreciate it, since getting stuff like this out to the general public helps remind that there ARE people in this city that care about the team despite what Clay & co. want everyone to believe and we won't be shut up! Good job and keep up the good work!

Posted by nomasearl

9:20 AM, Jan 29, 2008


"Anybody who deliberately moves to a different section for an opportunity to trash talk, loses a lot of credibility with me."

That's funny. I would deliberately move to a different section for an opportunity to hear some good trash talk. Particularly if it's directed at Bennett. With the way the Sonics are playing it's probably a better reason to buy a ticket.

Posted by Mark WS

9:28 AM, Jan 29, 2008

Peanuts, popcorn, and profanity! That's how America now celebrates its sports. It is what we have become, a "Me first". Sure I curse now and again, and I have kids, so I sheepishly admit to them its not the right way to grow up. Its when people curse as their god given right, and screw everybody else that I shake my head in shame.


12:15 PM, Jan 29, 2008

Maybe more paying customers should follow Mr. Kidders lead on this, in order to further sully this lying okie's reputation.

Posted by Markw32

2:52 PM, Jan 29, 2008

To Mike from Pioneer Square: You are a joke.
To Sam: You are awesome.

Posted by Jim Mc.

4:04 PM, Jan 29, 2008

The hating will never stop until Bennett sells the team. I pray that the city can muster enough legal might to stop Bennett from breaking the lease early. Bravo to Sam Kidder and all the other true Seattlites standing up to the power of money.

Posted by SonicsFan2008

9:39 PM, Jan 29, 2008

You know whats funny gang? I'm looking at all the posts here and now old Mike in Pioneer Square is in hiding! To me I think he's a coward after giving him a dose of his own medicine!

I want to say this I lived in Seattle all my life and I'm embarrassed by the attitude of the people here like Mike in Pioneer Square who always like to insult the fans intelligence and the guys like Frank Chopp and my representative Claudia Kauffman who never responds to letters of the Sonics issue. It's time that if the Sonics leave people need to vote these bums out the next election!

Posted by GPrUwitME

8:01 PM, Jun 29, 2008

Mike and Phillip are the typical Seattle fans that kill the credibility (sounds familiar?) of our fans and thats why Seattle is known as a weak sports city. Mike and Phillip have clearly never been to a sporting even in NY, Philly or boston because Mike's pacifist ways would lead him to the WNBA and Phillips' kids virgin ears would be filled with profanity far worse then "fat" and "ugly". I would love to encounter these two artificial fans on the basketball court and teach them how to really play ball.

I would feel bad for delivering an ass whoopin to Phillip in front of his kids.

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