BY Seth Kolloen 07:29AM 02/25/2011

Exit 164: Will Nate end up a hero or a coward?

Nate the Great will inspire hate no matter what he says to Thunder fans.

You know the phrase “damned if you do, damned if you don’t?” That’s Nate Robinson after his trade to Oklahoma City.

Like any Seattle-bred hoops fan, Nate Robinson is pissed that the Sonics left. “Seattle deserves its team back… not now, but RIGHT NOW!”, Robinson said in a Seattle Times chat last August. Responding to a question from a guy chatting as “David Stern,” Robinson said: “I’m not gonna answer any questions from David Stern until he brings the Sonics back from (sic) Seattle.” Robinson has even posed holding a t-shirt for the documentary Sonicsgate.

Robinson’s stance was innocuous when he was a Celtic. Innocuous no more, now that he’s on the Zombie Sonics. Current Thunder Nick Collison has gotten crap simply for living in Seattle in the offseason. How will OKC fans react to a player who supports the notion that the team isn’t rightfully theirs?

Robinson stepped into the mess hours after the trade, about something as simple as his jersey number. “Not sure what # I should rock, 2 is gone 4 is gone,” Robinson tweeted. Soon after, the directors of Sonicsgate had a suggestion: “Rock number 41 as a tribute to 41 years the Sonics were in Seattle before they were stolen.” Forty people retweeted the sentiment.

Now, Nate Robinson talks a lot, but you wouldn’t call him controversial. Unlike Steve Nash, he doesn’t sound off on politics. Unlike Shaquille O’Neal, he doesn’t sound off on former teammates. Unlike Stephon Marbury, he doesn’t sound off his rocker. Robinson mostly cracks jokes and shouts out to fans and friends. Mainly, he seems like the kind of guy who likes people, and wants them to like him back. (I’m the same way, but with a 35-inch smaller vertical.)

And now he’s in an impossible spot. Robinson has not yet addressed the issue to his 265,643 Twitter followers. Probably he’s already figured he can’t win. If he continues to call shenanigans about the Sonics’ move, he’s a hero in Seattle — but he dismays his new employers and disgusts his new fan base. If he keeps quiet, some Seattleites will call him a coward.

In other news…

M’s outfielder/dreamboat Franklin Gutierrez has returned to Seattle so doctors can check out his persistent stomach problems. Gutierrez struggled with the as-yet-undescribed issues during the 2nd half of last season, when he hit just .230 with only 4 homers.

I’m all for Saturday’s wholesome, family-friendly “Ski with Shawn Kemp Day”. Fair warning, though: This would not be the proper venue to show off your new Shawn Kemp condoms.

Franklin grad Aaron Brooks was traded from Houston to Phoenix. Brooks will back up Steve Nash and might be his replacement — Nash is a free agent at the end of next year.

Another 206er might benefit from yesterday’s trade flurry – the Rockets’ trade of Shane Battier may open up minutes for Beach grad Terrence Williams. “It’s an opportunity that might be his last good one,” writes Basketball Prospectus’ Kevin Pelton (scroll way down).

If you are an obsessive Husky fan, you’ll want to read this Seattle Times chat with Scott Woodward. Vocabulary fans, too: Woodward uses the word “concomitant”!!

Husky softball hasn’t missed a beat despite the departure of Danielle Lawrie. The Dawgs beat their second top 25 opponent of the year yesterday and are 9-0.

The Sounders destroyed the University of Central Florida 7-0 in an exhibition. O’Brian White and Pat Noonan both scored twice (with Noonan’s first goal assisted by the mysterious “Trialist,” according to the Sounders’ website). David Estrada and Mike Fucito scored as well, and, in case you are adding along, the Sounders also got an own goal.

Big upset in the Pac-10 last night as USC beat Arizona. UCLA beat Arizona State, so the Bruins could tie Arizona for first place in the Pac-10 with a win Saturday.

Gonzaga’s streak of 10 consecutive WCC titles isn’t dead yet. The Zags knocked off St. Mary’s in Moraga, in OT, to tie the Gaels for 1st in the WCC.

Check out former USC coach Tim Floyd’s epic on-court meltdown. Floyd, now at UTEP, had to be separated from refs by a cop.

This weekend’s action…

High School Hoops: Boys 3A (pdf) and (4A (pdf) regionals, various sites.

High School Hoops: Boys 3A (pdf) and (4A (pdf) regionals, various sites.
MWC Hoops: #7 BYU @ #6 San Diego State, 11 a.m. (CBS-7)
Pac-10 Hoops: Arizona @ UCLA, 1 p.m. (FSN)
Pac-10 Hoops: Cal @ Oregon St., 3 p.m. (FSN)
Pac-10 Hoops: Stanford @ Oregon, 3 p.m. (CSN)
WCC Hoops: San Diego @ Gonzaga, 6 p.m. (Universal Sports)
NCAA Hoops: Seattle U @ Cal-State Bakersfield, 7 p.m. (ESPN-710)

Baseball: Mariners vs. San Diego, 12:05 p.m. (ESPN-710)
Pac-10 Hoops: Huskies vs. Wazzu, 7 p.m. (FSN)


  • Matt712

    In order for the NFL to assume full liability – that is to say, the affected player(s) wins 100% of claim -  those players would have to somehow prove a willful malfeasance (e.g.: purposeful withholding of information) by the NFL that would have affected them. I don’t think that will be the case. It will prove almost impossible for a player to lay full culpability on the league – too many other factors to consider (such as genetics, lifestyle outside the sport, etc.).

    Football, like any sport, has and will continue to evolve. Part of that evolution is risk awareness and prevention. Every major pro sport I know of has a well documented history of attempts to make their sport safer – through technology, rule changes, or whatever – that cannot be disputed. Sure, there have been many things to subvert this (steroids, bounties, etc.) but nothing anyone can clearly say was perpetrated by the league.

    And should any of these cases win when they finally are heard, the appeals process will likely be considerably lengthy.  I’d like to think there is a more honorable outcome these players are really aiming for than just to alleviate themselves of fault and collect money – Perhaps changing the pension/benefits system to allow for these conditions when they do arise for retired players, perhaps just creating more awareness of this kind of danger.

    • Artthiel

      Matt, you’re generally right that proving the NFL is liable in all these cases is unlikely. But there will be claims presented that some teams and their medical staffs willfully ignored conventional medical advice at the time in order to get the player into action. However naively, the player put his trust in his employer to have his welfare in mind. It will be up to a jury to decide merits, but you know as well as I do who the sympathetic figures will be. The mere fact that the NFL fired its own chief medical officers in the face of the evidence, and then began changing rules in midseason, will be portrayed as an acknowledgment that it previously had been negligent, The league’s lawyers will argue otherwise, but the NFL genuinely fears the outcome.

      I’d like to think there that honor will play a factor. Unfortunately, I know better.

      • RadioGuy

        There is no honor among profits.

  • Soggyblogger

    I believe a class action settlement will occur, and that will take care of these suits against the NFL. Even a one billion dollar settlement would not destroy the league. One way or another the NFL could afford to pay that, but what might threaten the sport’s future is the elimination of HS football, and college football. Both of those institutions also face potential liability. 

    Right now, parents are legally liable if they smoke around their children. Is it inconceivable that parents will face criminal sanctions for even allowing their children to play football? I think that is what will ultimately threaten the existence of the sport. 

  • Guest

    Art, I disagree. The time to punish a child is right after he commits the transgression, not later. And football players today will take more seriously what is said in front of TV cameras than what is said in the privacy of the locker room.

    Plus Sark is ending a message to future recruits.

  • Artthiel

     Part of the standard player’s contract severely limits the liability of teams for long-term injuries. Injury settlements are also a fact of NFL life. What is open to litigation is willful negligence on the part of teams and their medical staffs. That will be very hard to prove, but it only takes a few for the NFL to be forced into a mass settlement, which would include changes to the game more significant than we have seen. 

  • Artthiel

     Possible, Roy, but a public trial with a former hero now demented is the last thing the NFL wants to defend. They will go to great lengths to avoid even one such trial. The union knows it, and the players know it.

     Unfortunately for our service people, their anonymity works against justice for them, plus the fact that it’s built into the American psyche to accept the wounds of honorable war as part of the whole cultural belief in armed conflict.

  • Artthiel

     Be careful what you wish for, Brad. One-platoon football, with Prussian spikes atop the helmets, may be in your future. 

  • guest

    I’d like to see the injury stats for speed football — where the size of the players is limited to 200 pounds, or something like that. Are there fewer injuries?  Fewer concussions?

    I’d love to see single platoon football because, as Brad says, it would reduce the size of the players and, hopefully, limit injuries and concussions.

  • RadioGuy

    “Short term” what?

  • Artthiel

     I don’t think Sark needs to be clobbered for his outburst, because he had a good point to make. But like his players, he has to think a moment before he acts. Why have that as the national TV highlight of the game?

  • Artthiel

    Well, Michael, that’s why you’re the dad and the kids are the kids. You know better, and you also miss being that joyful.

  • Thai-Duong Nguyen

    Proves to the nation (including future recruits) that he is all about improvement, and not coasting to victory.  If you’re a serious football player, you want a coach that will make you work hard no matter what the score is.

  • Michael Kaiser

    At time I do miss it, and at times I would not want to be that age again.  Funny, my forties are turning out to be my best decade so far.  But, yes, I guess, in a perfect world, I would not mind going through that period again.  Oh, and by the way, when I said kids, I meant all the younger people who live in the same shared housing-type cluster of buildings I do on Queen Anne.  Not my own.