Ok, everybody I want to explain something up front before I start.
Frankly I want to turn over a new leaf, I want to put the past 7 seasons behind me and just jump headlong into the future of our club.
In doing this I want to make a commitment to myself, I want to stop talking about Ron Artest, Jon Bender, Jermaine O'Neal, the 61 win season, Brad Miller, the brawl, Donnie Walsh, etc., etc.
I'm not saying that I know I will hold true to this but I want to try.
But I know before I even try to do this that there are several several posts left in me on these topics. So instead of trying to supress them and have them boil over at some point in time in the future, I think what I want to do is have a series of posts where I ask some questions and get feedback from people and also I will give my opinion.
My goal is to have this done by the end of Summer so that when we go to camp I want to be focusing on the future.
I say this because for the first time in 7 seasons I feel that the future is bright and there is no one on the team that I either dislike or frankly hate.
I may end up just talking to myself here as I'm sure most of you are bored with seeing me talk about this stuff anyway. But I want to try it this way just to see if it works. If nothing else it will be something to talk about.
So upfront I want to warn people. I am not going to hold back, in fact I am going to be the exact opposite of holding back on these because like I said I want to let it all out and let it go.
So fair warning to Arcadian, Anthem and a few others of you that tend to frown whenever I express strong opinions. Enter this at your own risk. You will be seeing me say some things you won't like.
I will start this series off with something that we discussed at the forum party.
Frankly I did a p!ss poor job of getting this one out there because of my timing and by trying to combine to many topics all at once.
I won't bother to rehash how it went bad at the party, I will just try and refocus here.
While I believe that the economy, the winning % and apathy played a major portion into fans lack of attendance last season I also believe that there was a % of fans, no matter how small, that chose to punish the franchise for years of intollerable off court and on court behavior.
I specifically believe that a certain % of fans were not punishing the franchise just because of player problems, but they were specifically punishing the management of the team and owners of the team for what they felt was breeding an environment where the players felt comfortable to have the off court on court issues.
I do NOT believe that it was just one thing. Yes many people were upset about the brawl and 8 second saloon and club rio, etc., etc. etc.
But I believe that it was a culmination of these events coupled with both the owners and Donnie Walsh using lawyer speak instead of taking decisive action against the players.
Now I don't want to get into semantics about due process or mob mentallity. Those are all valid issues, but the empty seats spoke loud and clear as well.
So far we have been told that this season they have already significantly improved ticket sales.
This has been done without one more win on the board and without our economy making a major rebound.
1. Knowing that ticket sales have already increased can we just write off the fact that the culture of the team has changed and in changing this some of the fans are returning?
2. Was the win loss % the only reason for last seasons attendance?
3. Was the economy the only reason for last seasons attendance?
4. Was a combination of the economy and win/loss % the only reasons for last seasons attendance?
5. If neither of these or the combination of these was the reason, what other reasons are there?
Ok, that is the first part of the quesiton section.
Now I want a second section in this, probably could go up above but I want to seperate them.
Here is where I will draw the fire, but in the spirit of my wanting to be free of all of this I will only say this. Bring it on.
I do NOT feel as though the owners of the Pacers or their subordinate Donnie Walsh ever took any real responsibility for the brawl, nor any of the ensuing off court incidents.
I speak only for myself here, I do not know if any other fan feels this way or not.
Frankly I was ashamed of our club the night of the brawl but I was even more ashamed at the reaction of the upper tier in handling this.
BillS made a wonderful point at the party in defense of Donnie and I absolutely agree with him. However in his defense of Walsh it also pointed out to me why I could not stand the way they reacted to the incidents.
Remember now I am not just talking about the brawl itself, I'm talking about the culmanation of all of the events.
Anyway, BillS point was that Donnie treated his players exactly how we would want our management or boss to treat us.
That is an admirable quality btw, and frankly Walsh was always great about this. However Donnie for the majority of his career here dealt with grown men who acted like grown men. Sadly, IMO, the last seven years he was dealing with children and spoiled children at that. What was an admirable trait turned around and bit him in the @ss. Whether it was Ron continuing his assinine ways or Jamaal or any number of other players. Donnie was always patient, considerate and first to defend his players. Again noble traits to be sure.
But there comes a point in time where people no longer deserve your defense and I think Walsh didn't realize it till it was to little to late.
We had this great argument at the party about whether or not the Pacers ever took any responsibilty for the brawl. Duke Dynamite came up with some artcile that just said the Walsh apologized for thier part in the low point of sports. However reading furthing into that article, which I can't find now but I know someone will post to prove me wrong, I read every excuse in the world other than our players being in the wrong. I have since looked up all of Herb Simons quotes on the brawl and he is even worse that Walsh, frankly if he never spoke of the brawl again it would be a good idea. He states that we are going to back our players all the way.
Now here comes the second part of my questions and understand I have no intention of rehashing the brawl, but if it happens then so be it.
1. Am I wrong to feel that the team (owners and Walsh) never took actual responsibility for the actions of our players?
2. If I am wrong, remember these are about feelings not facts, then was I the only person who felt that way? Or is it possible that a few others out there felt the same way and that this combined with other incidents where the management didn't respond with dissaproval of the players, might have kept a couple of people away?
3. Was Ron Artest as popular at the fieldhouse as he was online?
4. Was Steven Jackson unfairly painted by his actions at the brawl?
5. Was Jermaine O'Neal an innocent vicitim of the brawl?
There, feel free to answer whatever you want and feel free to flame away at me.
Again, my goal is to talk about this now so that soon I will never have to talk about this again.