Gabriel Rosenberg has a fairly brutal opinion piece in the Indianapolis Star entitled “Learning to Hate the Pacers, a Team I Have Long Loved.” Reading the title, I thought it was going to be some superficial rant complaining about the Pacers’ change in fortunes and level of performance toward the end of the season.
Nope. He clearly loves the Pacers and Indianapolis, but he’s pissed about the decision to give the Simon family $160 million to support the Pacers and Banker’s Fieldhouse at the same time the roads are crumbling and the police seemingly don’t have the resources they need to keep order.
The latest handout is a craven abdication of responsibility by the city’s leaders. The Simons squeeze the life from the city. But the mayor and the council fear the immediate political wrath of fans. Why pay a grievous political price now when the human cost can be amortized by decades of crumbling infrastructure, winnowing public services, violent crimes and shuttered schools?
. . .
I rage at something I love. I try to reject something that is a part of me and always will be. I can’t really ever walk away from the Pacers, but my stomach is knotted in anger and sorrow when I think of them. I’m saying things I don’t really believe. But I must learn to believe them. I hope Paul George misses his next 160 shots. I hope the Hawks outscore the Pacers by 160 points. I hope they lose the next 160 games. How else will I count the 160 million lacerations the Simons leave on the body of the city?
I once loved a city that bled blue and gold. Now I love a city that simply bleeds.