18 January 2015

Is Seattle's 13th Man Initiative the Odd Man Out?

Defending Super Bowl Champions Seattle Seahawks have been successful on an off the field.  Civic pride for the Seahawks in Seattle is legendary, as their fans are considered the 12th man, giving the team a tremendous home field advantage.  Seahawk fans are so loud that their boisterous cheers caused two measurable earthquakes.

However, in the run up to the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, Socialist Alternative Councilwoman Kshama Sawant railed against the restrictiveness nature of Seattle Seahawk season tickets preventing many unprivileged WeHawk fans from seeing the game in person.

Sawant organized some street theater to illustrate the divide between the Seahawk fans have and have nots with a "13th Man Initiative". The socialist rally on Capitol Hill gathered hundreds of blue and lime clad workers chanting "No justice, no beast".  During their march to Pioneer Square, protesters carried signs reading "We are the 13" and "12th Man, aka Bequeathed Mode".  

Sawant's solution to the Seahawk ticket situation is to share seats among the metro Seattle residents.  According to Sawart: 

“With 3 million people in the Seattle metro area, that’s about 44 people per seat. After this weekend, the Hawks will have played 10 home games, or 41 quarters (remember the overtime versus the Broncos). If you subtract infants and Sounders fans, that comes out almost perfectly to one quarter per person."

Right. And Sawant is supposedly an economics professor.  Perhaps it should be noted that Washington state has legalized the recreation use of marijuana.  College campuses may have been a bit ahead of the pot legalization initiative.

Some claim that this 13th man initiative is just satire.  Where you stand is where you sit.  Street theater might be a lark for an Occupy rally.  As an elected official, such satire is unseemly, especially without denoting that it was allegedly illustrating a point.  If so, what was the point?

The 13th Man ticket sharing idea is about as idiotic as the living wage initiative which Sawant championed to raise the Emerald City's minimum wage to $15 an hour.  Seattle's City Council unanimously passed the $15 minimum wage and chose to fully implement it in April 2015, even though liberally minded restaurant owners warn that the drastic wage increase will decrease labor and threaten small business survival in the city.

Sawant gained notoriety for her involvement in the Occupy  Wall Street movement.  It seems like the "13th Man Initiative" is ersatz opposition which injects  class strife and partisan politics into sports successes.  The NFL has been plagued with politically correct controversies which are peripheral to football, like political pressure and  Obama Administrations machinations to force the Washington Redskins to change their name and football players engaging in the "Hands up don't shoot" meme ala Ferguson.

It is a pity that rabble rousers and progressive political animals continue to use sports as a platform for forcing their politics into sports rather than allowing the teams to build unity among the community. Alas the 13th man initiative is the odd men as the are people who can not root  for their team without playing victim (for not having tickets), "raising consciences" and politically dividing the Seahawks fan base.

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