Sports

Phoenix Suns Stadium Deal Vote Was Extremely Uncomfortable

The Suns got an outlandish deal for arena renovations, but not before a man reminded everyone that he shot a councilwoman that supported funding for the Arizona Diamondbacks stadium in 1997.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Jan 24 2019, 4:52pm

In a Phoenix City Council meeting on Wednesday, things took a turn for the, um, at-least-very-uncomfortable, as a man who shot then Phoenix Councilwoman Mary Rose Cox in the pelvis in 1997 over her support for a proposal for the Arizona Diamondbacks's publicly-funded stadium made an appearance.

This time, Larry Naman was there to protest the Suns seeking public funding for their renovation of Talking Stick Arena, and said passing the proposal without letting the public vote on it was "an act of violence against the public." The most awkward—or potentially life-threatening—part of the whole situation? Cox was there and spoke in favor of the proposal, and then was sitting just two rows away as Naman directly referenced shooting her.

But in case you can't listen, here's what Naman said:

The public must be allowed to vote on this. If you go ahead and pass this, you are crossing the line and carrying out the equivalent of an act of violence against the public. On August 13, 1997, I walked into the Maricopa Board of Supervisors’ auditorium and shot Mary Rose Wilcox over the baseball stadium tax matter. You must let the public vote on this matter.

Police surrounded Naman after his statement and told local FOX affiliate that they were reviewing the matter.

Wednesday's vote later went 6-2 in favor of using public funds to renovate the arena. In total, the city will pay $150 million for renovations compared to the Suns paying only $80 million, according to the Arizona Republic. That's not including future maintenance costs, which the city will pay $25 million for, compared to the Suns paying $12.5 million.

It would appear that current owner Robert Sarver's threat to move the team back in December was successful and, indeed, the Arizona Republic reports that of the 14 NBA teams that have secured new stadium deals in the last five years, the Suns have gotten the second best deal. While the term "act of violence" feels inappropriate in this context, "highway robbery" doesn't seem too far off.

h/t Deadspin