Thursday, January 23, 2014

Open letter to Bill Radke

The following is in response to a blog post ( by KUOW's Morning Edition host Bill Radke.

I'm trying to figure out your angle, Bill.  I read the transcription of your rant a few times, assuming that I must have missed something, but no matter how many times I go over it-- I still can't catch your drift.

The blog post begins by briefly explaining how the greater-Seattle community has been brought together by the excitement of the Seahawks making it to the Super Bowl and quickly shifts to how you, Bill Radke, have
 "grown tired of the hooplah".

I don't know you, Mr. Radke.  I've never listened to your show.  I'm not attempting to discredit you or anything-- I'm 100% certain you've never heard of me.  It's because of my unfamiliarity with your personality that automatically lead me to assume that the reason you were fed up with this communal joy was perhaps because it took attention away from more important issues.

I assumed that you were one of those types of people who are angered by the fact that our service men and women aren't as beloved (or paid as handsomely) as professional athletes tend to be. Maybe you were the type who is infuriated by the media attention that is swallowed by everything Super Bowl-related when there are far more serious and pressing global issues that are more deserving of the nation's eyes.  

None of those somewhat rational opinions came up in your rant. Instead, the best I can surmise from your rant is this:  You were a Seattle sports fan in your youth, but now you're just a grouchy, middle-aged bummer.
In your defense of being tired of the 'hooplah'-- or what I describe as 'a community coming together to celebrate a shared joy' -- you say that you were somewhat of a die hard Seattle sports fan.  Eventually, you stopped being a fan or at least curtailed your enthusiasm over the last 20 years.  I'm not sure why your passion subsided.  All I can deduce from your rant is that things changed and it turned you off. Perhaps it was when your heroes were exposed as regular people with regular problems.  Maybe it was the lean years and the lack of championships.  You never really went into much detail on what caused this change.

Sure, Alex Rodriguez is an asshole.  I can't deny that.  However, that didn't really come to light until he was long separated from the Mariners. Still, I'll give you that one.

But when you insisted that Seattle was the NFL's most annoying team-- that's where I have to stop you.

I won't even get into the the brash stupidity of how you defended that statement as 'fact', but I will break down the 3 reasons you listed to support your claim.

"Their defensive strategy is to commit so many holding and pass interference penalties that the referees can’t possibly call all of them."

For someone who longs for the 'Golden Days' of football, this was an odd place to begin your case against Seattle. The rules for how a receiver can be covered have changed dramatically since the 1970s. Back then, you could literally clothesline a receiver coming across the middle as long as the ball wasn't there. Seattle's secondary plays within the current rules.  Sure, there are times when they cross that line, but I would argue that they are also unfairly targeted because of their outstanding play.  It's not like they're getting away with anything-- Seattle was the most penalized team this season.

2.) "The Seahawks also lead the league in suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs."
You're correct, Bill. Seahawks have more PED suspensions than any other team since 2010.  The league's policies on substance abuse and PEDs are handled about as responsibly as Major League Baseball and the US Government's handling of these kinds of issues-- but that's another discussion altogether. By the way, guess who's right behind us in this unpleasant statistic?  That's right, the AFC Champion Denver Broncos.

3.) "And if being an insulting loud-mouth braggart were illegal, cornerback Richard Sherman would be in Walla Walla."

Yeah, I suppose you're correct there. We also wouldn't have wonderful talk-radio hosts such as yourself or political campaigning-- why would you even attempt to fathom a miserable world like that?

Those are some pretty feeble arguments to start your rant with and it increasingly loses relevance as the word count rises. Your counter argument for the incredible presence Russell Wilson has in our city is that he's not from around here?  Largent and Griffey, who continue to support our communities long after their retirement from Seattle sports are somehow fraudulent because their primary residence is in their respective home states?

What does that have to do with anything?  Who gives a shit?

You're totally discounting the fact that men, women and children from all races, religions and backgrounds are overlooking their personal differences and coming together to support this team.  Some are just now discovering the game of football while others, unlike yourself, stayed on the bandwagon through the lean years.

I can't tell if it's the 'city supremacy' issue that is the underlying cause for your curmudgeonry, but if it is, I can assure you that you're way off base here.  The Seahawks are geographically unique in NFL terms. We are the closest rooting interest for Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and many other areas that do not have their own franchise. I've seen 12 Man flags flown everywhere from London, China, Afghanistan and everywhere in between.  No one is going to ask to see your long-form birth certificate when you tell them you're a Seahawks fan. 

I'll agree with your assessment that we all have better things to do.  There are bigger issues like poverty, health care, genocides and all sorts of serious issues that don't get the attention that the Super Bowl gets. I totally agree with that.  Still, football is an incredible source of entertainment, inspiration and unity that some people can't find anywhere else.  Basically, there's far worse things to be a grump about than the happiness of a large group of people.

Very rarely is anyone killed because of their NFL allegiance and most fanbases will accept every fan regardless of their religious beliefs, political opinions, sexual preference, birthplace or residency.  That's more than most organizations can say. 

 I'm not trying to pick a fight with you, Bill.  I just think you're being unnecessarily harsh on us for coming together for something that doesn't hurt anyone.  I'd like to take this opportunity to extend the olive branch and cordially invite you back on to the 12th man bandwagon.  We've missed you, Bill.

And I'll leave you with a quote by Lili Von Shtupp from another great Mel Brooks movie: 
"Willkommen. Bienvenue. Welcome. C'mon in."

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