The Phoenix Suns and the city of Phoenix have been at odds for quite some time now as the team’s owner, Robert Sarver, looks for funds to renovate Talking Stick Resort Arena.
Sarver says the arena needs $230 million in renovations and he’s offering to cover only 35 percent of the costs. Sarver wants the city to pay the other $150 million, and he has even threatened to move the team if his demands are not met.
This, obviously, hasn’t sat well with many Phoenix residents, and one elderly lady in particular made her feelings on the subject very clear.
Greta Rogers took Sarver to task at a City Council meeting on Wednesday where she slammed the owner for not building a competitive team. She also said the citizens of Phoenix shouldn’t be in the business of paying taxes to support private businesses.
“Mr. Sarver has done nothing to improve this team in the 14 years he’s owned it,” Rogers said. “He’s never funded or bought — paid for — two or three key players, which makes any professional sports team successful or on the road to success. He’s so tight he squeaks when he walks.
“And you have been negotiating with this kind of person? Shame on each and all of you. And upon you, Ed (Zuercher, Phoenix’s city manager). I thought your principles were higher and better than this. We are not in the business of paying taxes to support private enterprise, and especially not an entertainment enterprise. They can support themselves or fail on their own lack of diligence.”
The line of “he’s so tight he squeaks when he walks” is a classic, especially when coming from a senior citizen.
Rogers’ public lashing of Sarver sparked the creative minds that reside on social media, and many took to Photoshop to detail what just went down.
— /r/SUNS (@Suns_Reddit) December 14, 2018
— TheTimelinePodcast (@TheTimelinePod) December 14, 2018
Sarver purchased the Suns in 2004 for $401 million, and now they are worth over $1.2 billion, according to Forbes.
But the on-court product has suffered over the last decade as the team went from a perennial contender for the NBA Finals during his first few years on the job to a perennial contender for the No. 1 draft pick.
Players such as Steve Nash, Shawn Marion and Amar’e Stoudamire have left the team with little coming back in return.
The Suns had the third-most wins in the NBA from 2004 to 2010 but now have the fifth most losses since the 2010-11 season.
A big part of the reason for that decline has been Sarver’s unwillingness to pay top dollar for elite players. The Suns’ current payroll of $104.8 million is the third-lowest in the NBA.
The vote to see if Sarver and the Suns would get the $150 million they are asking for was supposed to take place on Wednesday, but it has been pushed back a month.
Meanwhile, after a backlash, Sarver tried to reassure fans Thursday the team is “not leaving Phoenix.”
A message from Managing Partner, Robert Sarver: pic.twitter.com/f2YLC0woYG
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) December 13, 2018
Before the January vote, there’s a good chance that more “Gretas” will come out and strongly oppose his request, which would leave the Suns in quite the predicament.
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