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Message to Spurs Sports & Entertainment L.L.C. Chairman Peter Holt

Written on:March 7, 2012
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Mr. Holt:

I am a life-long supporter of the San Antonio Spurs and have been a frequent attender of Spurs games at each the AT&T Center, the Alamodome, and Hemisfair Arena. One way or another, I try desperately to never miss a game. I have been in attendance at many wonderful moments in Spurs history, but I experience the vast majority of the team’s games through the organization’s media outlets on television and radio. While I would like to watch every game on television, because of various professional and social commitments I often find myself listening to the radio broadcast on WOAI 1200 AM (a Clear Channel radio station). While I thoroughly enjoy the broadcast performance of Bill Schoening and believe the coverage of the games is second to none, I have long had a crisis of conscience reconciling the association between Spurs Sports & Entertainment L.L.C. and WOAI 1200.

While I understand the value of broadcasting the Spurs games on WOAI’s 50,000-watt signal (I’m always glad that I can receive a decent signal while traveling hundreds of miles away from San Antonio), I have long been disheartened to purposely contribute to the financial success of WOAI 1200. The reason for this is that I am morally opposed to the views and opinions that are disseminated during the station’s daytime programming. It has long been my belief that much of the rhetoric disseminated on The Glenn Beck Program, The Rush Limbaugh Show, The Sean Hannity Show, and The Joe Pags Show is reckless and destructive. I find the misinformation propagated by these talk show personalities on a daily basis poisonous to the public discourse in our community. In particular, I find the utter lack of respect for President Barack Obama reprehensible. I believe that this rhetoric is clearly endorsed by WOAI 1200 because they continue to broadcast and market it as part of their programming. Furthermore, I believe that this rhetoric is also endorsed by Spurs Sports & Entertainment because your company indirectly associates with it by also broadcasting on WOAI 1200. At the very least, for many who do not agree with this rhetoric, this association with WOAI 1200 puts a black eye on an otherwise stellar reputation that the Spurs organization has worked extremely hard to cultivate in our community. For many years, I was willing to overlook my dissatisfaction with this association and continue to listen to Spurs broadcasts on the station because I tried to compartmentalize my disgust with the daytime programming and my passion for the San Antonio Spurs.

However, because of comments made last week on the Rush Limbaugh Show, I can no longer continue to reconcile listening to Spurs programming on WOAI 1200 with my personal moral opposition to contributing to the station’s financial success. I’m sure you are well aware of the comments that Mr. Limbaugh made on your team’s flagship station last week directed at Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke. In my opinion, these comments crossed the line of reckless political rhetoric into the realm of poisonous hatred that has no place on the public airwaves. I find these comments offensive and I am extremely frustrated that I have indirectly supported their dissemination by supporting your company’s relationship with the station that broadcast them in our community. You should be concerned that Spurs fans are making a direct connection between the values that Mr. Limbaugh promotes and the values that Spurs Sports & Entertainment promotes.

I’m urging you to take one of the following actions in the coming weeks in order to send a clear signal to Spurs fans that Spurs Sports & Entertainment does not endorse the values promoted last week by Mr. Limbaugh.

1. Announce the termination of your company’s relationship with WOAI 1200, effective immediately following the end of your current contract with them.

2. Announce that any future contract between Spurs Sports & Entertainment and WOAI 1200 will be contingent upon WOAI 1200 first ending its relationship with The Rush Limbaugh Show.

3. Follow the lead of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert and announce that you are pulling all Spurs Sports & Entertainment advertisements from the airwaves of WOAI 1200 while The Rush Limbaugh program is on the air.

Until Spurs Sports & Entertainment makes a statement repudiating Mr. Limbaugh’s comments, I will assume that the company shares those values. Until your company makes a decision that clearly establishes a distinct separation between Spurs broadcasts and The Rush Limbaugh Show, I will not listen to another radio broadcast of the Spurs on WOAI 1200. I believe that you can find precedent for taking swift action by the stellar example provided by one of your employees. In 2007, Greg Popovich swiftly cancelled his appearances on the Ticket 760 after personalities on that station made offensive comments about Denver Nuggets players Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony. Popovich clearly understood that he did not want his name associated with values that were in conflict with his organization’s hard earned reputation in the community and across the country. The work that the Spurs organization does to uplift our community is commendable. Why risk tainting that legacy by continuing to associate with values that a great portion of our community find irreconcilable with our own? Being a Spurs fan should not be a political issue. I greatly appreciate your careful consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Ted Hooker