Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Archive for January 22, 2007

Jan. 22, 2007 — Stung

In all of the hullabaloo over field hockey’s eyewear debate, this blog has turned its attention away from some very important things happening in the world of women’s athletics.

Perhaps the biggest: the dissolution of the WNBA’s Charlotte Sting. The Sting was one of the league’s charter franchises and often played in front of crowds as enthusiastic as the ones who came to Hornets games in the early 1990s.

Problem was, like the Hornets, the Sting could not sustain interest in the franchise, even as North Carolina became a women’s pro sports mecca in the early 2000s; the Sting made a WNBA Finals, and the WUSA’s Carolina Courage won the 2002 Founders’ Cup.

When the Hornets left Charlotte in 2002, however, it was anyone’s guess what would happen to the Sting. George Shinn, the Hornets’ owner, had just escaped a rape conviction and had evoked further public ire with his unwillingness to pay top dollar for talent such as Alonzo Mourning and Kobe Bryant.

So, when the NBA returned to Charlotte in 2005 with the Bobcats, it was expected that the deep pockets of BET founder Robert Johnson would keep the Sting competitive and afloat. But Johnson would not do so. Oddly enough, his ex-wife Sheila is president of the Washington Mystics, and there might have been some byplay in those matchups between owners.

But you’d think that a billionaire such as Johnson would be able to keep an $8 million-a-year operation afloat, don’t you?