Behring Irked By Reports -- Hawk Owner Rips Talk Of L.A. Move
Seattle Times Staff Reporters
The contact was minimal, says Seahawk majority owner Ken Behring, but somehow enough to start a stampede of fresh rumors that Seattle's franchise was on the brink of belonging to Los Angeles.
"There's absolutely nothing to this ridiculous rumor and I'm just sick and tired of them," Behring said yesterday. "I mean, here we are, trying to work with the county. We're making progress and then to have stuff like this, it's just upsetting."
Behring said he was contacted a few weeks ago by Hollywood Park owner R.D. Hubbard, who told the Los Angeles Times yesterday that he will announce Los Angeles' new team "within days." Behring said he assumed Hubbard called every team having stadium problems.
According to Behring, Hubbard said, "If you decide to move, come and see me."
Behring's response? "I said, `Fine, if we ever decide, I'll come and see you.' That was a few weeks ago. That's the absolute conversation. I don't even know where Hollywood Park is. I've never been there. I know nothing about it outside of that (Raider owner) Al Davis at one time looked at it."
Behring and his son David met yesterday with King County officials.
"There's always progress," Ken Behring reported. "It's never as fast as I like.
"John Nordstrom has gotten involved. John has been doing a great job trying to come up with something. We're trying, that's all I can say. But we're not going to Hollywood Park."
KFWB radio reporter Ted Sobel, citing unnamed NFL sources, said the Seahawks "have the inside track" in the move to Los Angeles, which is without an NFL franchise.
"I'm told Seattle is coming here," said Sobel, contacted at his Los Angeles area home. "I know it's not in writing yet. No one can even admit who they are negotiating with, but my sources told me Seattle is coming here."
Meanwhile, Behring said one breakthrough that King County agreed to yesterday was that the Seahawks could continue to deal with HOK, the Kansas City architectural firm the team chose to draw their ideas of stadium enhancements. The Seahawks wanted the plans revised after the Behrings saw the Jacksonville Stadium.
Initially, "the county stopped us because they have HOK under contract and said, `Don't talk to them.' " Behring said. "Now we got the approval that we can go back and talk to them and try to get the plans to the next stage."
Seahawk spokesman Dave Neubert said a new rumor of an impending move seems to surface weekly. Neubert also noted that NFL owners voted this year that only Commissioner Paul Tagliabue can cut a deal to have a team move to Los Angeles.
"An owner can't do his own deal," Neubert said.
Neubert said the Seahawks checked with NFL headquarters themselves after the radio report surfaced. The league office told them the report was baseless, Neubert said.
County officials are trying to negotiate a long-term agreement with the Seahawks, said Frank Abe, spokesman for County Executive Gary Locke. The radio report, Abe said, was "the latest in a long series of Seahawk scare stories."
Copyright (c) 1995 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.