Grant Napear spent Tuesday afternoon ranting and raving about how the Sacramento Bee had so maligned the poor little Maloof boys over the past decade that now they were taking their balls and leaving town.
Any opposing viewpoint was shouted down with the lunacy of a fifth-grader throwing a tantrum.
Give me a break.
Napear is a shill. Plain and simple. He is not an honest broker. He is not a journalist. Accepting his word on the Kings' situation is akin to accepting Bernie Madoff's word on a hot investment.
He is paid by the Kings. He is their employee. If he bad mouthes his bosses, he gets the boot. If he sucks up, he gets a pat on his little red head and gets to play TV boy for another year.
The Bee's coverage had no effect on the decision making of the Maloofs.
Full disclosure: I worked at the Bee for almost 20 years in the sports department, but I'm not a Bee apologist. In fact, anyone who worked with me will tell you that I had plenty of complaints about the way the newspaper was run. I'm good at complaining. Some say I'm an expert. (note to my former executive editor and managing editor: It's called creativity and innovation. You promote it, you don't quash it. You guys were so far behind the curve, you couldn't even see the curve.)
But to say the arena cause was beaten down by the Bee is just plain stupid.
The Bee columnists have been strong proponents of a new arena. Ailene Voisin and Marcos Breton have written tirelessly in support of a new building.
When the Kings were riding high, the Bee was a publicity machine for the team, pumping out special sections, posters and signs to hold up at the arena.
Yes, the newspaper has done a few stories that didn't show the Maloofs in a very flattering light, most recently a piece that quoted numerous sources in regards to the brothers' penchant for outlandish negotiating.
But sorry, folks, it's called reporting. The Maloofs don't get a free ride.
And, besides, there's plenty of blame for this failure all around.
I personally believe an awful economy and a growing distaste for increased government spending are the two biggest reasons a new arena deal hasn't gotten done.
In addition, I believe the fixation on a downtown location was misguided. Natomas was fine. All the infrastructure is already there. The cost of building a new arena in the current location would have been far cheaper and a whole lot easier to get done. Keeping the Kings -- not revitalizing the railyards -- should have been the focus. A downtown arena was an intricate pipe dream with far too many moving pieces.
But let's face it, there just isn't that much free private money in this town. We don't have any spare billionaires ready to parachute in as an angel investor.
So now the Kings are most likely gone.
And we get back to the bombastic blowhard known as Grant Napear.
Stop the act, Grant. Yes, we know the Maloofs give plenty to charity. We know they are really nice guys. But we don't need your phony objective views when you're clearly on the payroll.
Furthermore, we don't need your doomsday prophecies.
"If we lose the Kings," he proclaimed with searing intensity. "You'll never see an NBA team here for the rest of your lifetime."
As if that was a punishment from God for our sins.
It's probably true. But what does that mean?
We'll still lead our lives. We'll still struggle to keep our jobs. We'll still proudly raise our families. And we'll still enjoy our free time -- maybe in different ways.
Napear is a boob. A flame-throwing flunky without an ounce of nuance.
If he moves to Anaheim, we may never see another one like him for the rest of our lifetimes.
We can only hope.
P.S. Invite me on for a debate, Grant. Maybe I'll be able to make a point in between your tireless rants.