Oilers’ sorry apology masks relocation blackmail

EDMONTON Oilers owner Daryl Katz first upped his subsidy demands, then flew to Seattle to play footsie with city officials over a new arena, and has now taken out a full-page ad in last Friday’s Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun apologizing for “[taking] for granted your support and your love of the Oilers. That was wrong, and I apologize.” Katz had been rightly denounced in Edmonton. The published apology for Katz’s brazen manipulation of the people and government was so sincere that he went on to make a veiled threat to move the professional hockey franchise to the USA if he doesn’t get his way, saying, “I’m fighting for a deal that will enable the team to stay in Edmonton – and not because I want them to be anywhere else.” Like, say, Seattle. Oops, did I say that out loud? “I’m fighting for a deal that will enable…” is code for a predatory demand to loot the public purse for as much as this monopolist can get.

In any event, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel is insisting that Katz needs to present his new arena demands to City Hall, in public, by October 17. Or else … okay, he didn’t say or else what. But being that “Deliver your ransom note by two weeks from Wednesday” isn’t exactly hardball negotiating, you have to figure that Mandel’s deadline is more a public relations cover than a principled stand – and one that Katz would have to be crazy to ignore.

Postscript: In a little noticed maneouvre, Katz’s entourage in Seattle included former NHL owner Wayne Gretzky, who followed up his shifty move with a prognosis well-orchestrated by the sports media that the NHL lockout will be over by Christmas. Like, whose side is Gretzky on and who gives a damn about what the hell he thinks in the first place? Nor did the media bother to mention that Gretzky is still owed some $7 million by the NHL over the travesty in the desert named Phoenix Coyotes. In Journalism 101, that’s a conflict of interest.

With a file from fieldofschemes.com

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