Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Won't someone please help poor Bob Johnson?

Posted By on Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 11:53 AM

So now Bobcats owner Bob Johnson is complaining that he's losing "significant money" because Charlotte isn't doing enough to support the team. This is from a man who, during "negotiations" with former City Manager Pam Syfert, got everything he wanted from the city including a big free Uptown arena and the right to sell its naming rights. Matter of fact, a joke going around town during the Syfert-Johnson talks was that the only thing the team owner didn't get from Syfert was her shoes.

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(Photo by Angus Lamond)

My question for Bob Johnson is simple: Why should the rest of the city bail you out when it turns out that you made a mistake in bringing a new NBA team here? If you screwed up by thinking Charlotte would go wild for yet another NBA team (yawn), well, isn't that part of the free market system rich guys like you praise whenever it works for you? Trouble is, when the holy free market slaps down moneybags like Johnson, their rugged all-American individualism suddenly disappears in their rush to beg others for rescue. At least this time Johnson isn't asking for yet more corporate welfare from taxpayers; now, he expects the city's corporations to save his bacon, which of course creates a whole new definition of "corporate welfare."

Who knows -- maybe local bigwigs will get together and boost their financial support for the Bobcats. It's doubtful, but you never know; it's not as if the biggest of local bigshots, the mega-banks, have a recent record of making wise decisions. Hey, Ken Thompson, as long as you're tanking Wachovia, why not risk even more stockholder money on yet another losing enterprise?

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