The Oklahoman has long been terrified of new types of media. John Rohde, Darnell Mayberry and Berry "Bullfeathers" Tramel have all at points in time used their lofty positions as newsmen to warn against the threats these types of outlets pose to decent folk and the common good and civil society as well as probably their own relevance and possibly job security. Fortunately no blog or Twitter page could compete with a mighty newspaper, least of all the Oklahoman, standard-bearer for integrity and truth.
Against this backdrop comes Jenni Carlson's bizarre column about Nick Collison and his curious Twitter page, and how he uses it to showcase a "lovefest" for Seattle while "tak[ing] shots" at OKC. Check out the screencap. You could blame it on the 24-hour news cycle except Jenni Carlson really only writes about once a week. What's odd is that although she claims to not mind and even "like him more" for his pro-Seattle comments, the tone of much of the article pretty clearly conveys the opposite. And the lede is written in such a way that it could only be perceived as trying to stoke a negative reaction. She even warns the Thunder brass not to get any "crazy ideas" about a Twitter ban, as if any of this is ban-worthy, and as if anyone else had that idea. Besides me of course.
Needless to say, it has ignited a firestorm of controversy. And rightly so. Because Nick Collison may look like one of us, he may act like one of us, and he may even sweat profusely while on the job just like you or I, but Nick Collison is not one of us. Nick Collison is a Seattelite. Gasp!
It's true. Despite wearing the light blue, dark blue, sunset yellow and reddish-orange of the 'Der, Nick Collison still lives in Seattle. And the smug bastard even likes it there. He says so right on his Twitter page. Not only that, he thinks Oklahoma City's 105 degree summer heat is too hot. Earmuff the children!
When will athletes learn that we don’t want to hear honest, off-the-cuff remarks no matter how benign, no matter how much genuine wit or charm they might possess? We want canned, rehearsed pablum you hear from real Americans like Mitt Romney or Kevin Durant. We demand it. If something drifts outside this narrow spectrum of rehearsed soundbites, sportswriters become threatened and attack the offender and try to purge it with fire.
Now it's time to dispense some old-fashioned mob justice.
Leading the crusade is talk radio personality Jim Traber, who took to the OKC airwaves to blast Collison for his remarks (the ones about the weather), "declare war" and literally try to run him out of town
“I am trying to run you out of town.”
“People are mad at me for saying 105 degrees is hot”
“As far as I’m concerned you can stay there!”
"I'm from the EAST COAST!"
This is all so major-league I can hardly believe it.
Co-host: “To be fair, I remember in the years when you were doing a show out in
Phoenix, there were many winter days when we were freezing our tails off in Oklahomaand you would remind us that it was 80 degrees out in ." Phoenix
Traber: “Absolutely. But let me tell you another thing too, okay, let me tell you another thing. I love
, I’ve been here 17— actually 20 years in total, and I never said, I would never say things like, you know “I didn’t want to be here” and all this other…” Oklahoma City
Collison: “You know what Jim, I never said I didn’t want to be in
Traber: "Okay. Okay, fine."
Traber wouldn’t be satisfied until Collison swore allegiance to the team and the state, and declared his desire to play there for the rest of his life a la Kevin Durant. After which I guess he would have believed him? Who knows. One thing I know is that Traber has stumbled upon an idea so brilliant in its simplicity I don't know how anyone in history hasn't thought of it before: Loyalty Oaths. This is something only the Oklahoma sports media could come up with.
But fear not, God-fearing Thunder fans (except for God), because the truth is out and Collison is on the chopping block. We are building this team upon players with Character™, and Collison clearly has none. And coincidentally he's also the highest paid player on the team, so this works out great. As far as I'm concerned, the team won't be safe until every last former-Sonic is run out of town. Except for Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, because they don't count. And Westbrook is kind of a gray area because he was drafted by the "Sonics", but not the "Seattle Sonics", because if you remember David Stern removed "Seattle" from the logo behind the podium on draft day even though the case hadn't settled yet. That was classy.