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WEEKLY WHINE

Who owns your team?

NBA owners have decided to permit the Seattle SuperSonics to move to Oklahoma City. Why is this a good decision for the NBA? After all, even though it gets more money, the league also gains the fury of the US state of Washington, which supported the Sonics for more than forty years.

As it turns out, this is a good decision for the NBA because it gets more money. No other reason.

This obviously means that fans of all other teams should panic. Just like Wimbledon FC, the San Jose Earthquakes, and the Elmira Pioneers, a popular team is abandoning its adoring fans and moving to an entirely different locale, where it will forge an entirely different identity with entirely different adoring fans who will, in turn, be abandoned themselves some years later.

But unlike Wimbledon FC, the San Jose Earthquakes, and the Elmira Pioneers, there are no plans for a replacement team. That’s apparently just as well: if there are no commercial supersonic aircraft in use, should there really be a team called the SuperSonics? Especially when said team’s logo has nothing to do with any sort of aircraft at all?

This situation also raises the question of ownership of sports teams. A few teams, such as the Green Bay Packers, are publicly traded and owned by the very same people who cheer for them at every game. But the vast majority of clubs, at least at the highest levels, are owned by people who have little to no connection to the locales in which the club plays its home matches. Is this fair? Or is it just another in the long list of modern day examples of ordinary people being fucked over by the Man?

The answer, of course, is the latter.

How can you prevent yourself from being fucked over by team owners? You can support a college team, a lower division team, or an amateur team. But even these sorts of teams will fuck you over. US colleges continue to cut down on their athletic programmes until the only sports they can support are American football and basketball. And the players on lower division and amateur teams use them solely to advance toward higher division professional teams.

But what about you, the ordinary sport-loving person? You want to go to a field/stadium/ballpark/arena every day/weekend/several days to support your team and its players. You want to be confident in the knowledge that your team represents your community – and actually recognises that fact. You want to be confident in the knowledge that whilst the players, coaches, and staff may change, the uniforms, style of play, and organisational philosophy will not. Know where you can find such teams?

What’s that you say? 1953? Yes, that’s right. Of course, in many portions of the US, teams of 1953 will disappoint you if you are anything other than white.

We here at GoobNet did our best in trying to start up an ice hockey league several years ago, but Commissioner Dole never got back to us. Commissioner Garber, don’t make that mistake. GoobNet FC can lead the charge in taking your league back to where it belongs: with the fans.

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