What might have been one of David Behring’s last acts as president of the Seattle Seahawks stood in stark contrast to most everything else that happened during his tenure running the team.
The son of Seahawks owner Ken Behring, David Behring heard nothing but applause Thursday morning as he handed over a check for more than $200,000 to the Seattle Public School District for an alternative school to be sponsored in part by the Seahawks.
Then he met the media for the first time since April of 1996 when Paul Allen purchased an option to buy the team, an option Allen is expected to exercise once Referendum 48 is officially approved.
And once Allen assumes command, it is expected that Behring will be removed as team president.
“I don’t know,” Behring said of his future. “I don’t have an answer.”
A faint wish, however, is to stay involved with the team.
“Would I love to be a part of it? Damn right,” he said. “This team is going places now.”
For once, he meant on the field, and not down Interstate 5 to Los Angeles, the threat of which figures to be the main thing the Behrings will be remembered for by a Seattle public that rarely cheered the family.
But David Behring on Thursday seemed to plead for a little more understanding of his family’s rocky regime managing the Seahawks, which began in the fall of 1988 when Ken Behring bought the club from the Nordstrom family.
“We tried to make the team better,” David Behring said. “We had a lot of unfortunate luck. We made some bad decisions. But I think the last three, four years the team has made a lot of progress and I’m proud of that.”
But, as David Behring put it, “unfortunately we got sidetracked for two years with stadium issues.”
In fact, the Behrings first broached the need for improvements in the Kingdome, or a new stadium, in the fall of 1994. And David Behring said Tuesday’s vote provides some solace in showing that the public finally agreed.
“We delivered the message,” he said. “The message remained the same… . (But) the messenger changed, the time changed.
“We were premature. We didn’t have the community relationships. We didn’t work with the politicians.”
David Behring says he disagrees with some of what his father did the past two years, mainly the attempt to move the team to Los Angeles.
“Unfortunately, my father became a little impatient,” David Behring said. “He was frustrated by everything that had been thrown before him the past six years.”
But David Behring doesn’t disagree with the decision by his father not to lend support for the Mariners stadium vote in the fall of 1995, which included more than $100 million to fix up the Kingdome for the Seahawks.
“That would not have been sufficient money for the Mariners stadium or the Kingdome,” Behring said of the $410 million ballot measure. “Our message on that one was correct and I stand by that.”
David Behring said he thinks his father and the community are equally at fault for the fact that neither ever felt comfortable with the other.
“It seems like they don’t like out-of-state owners around here and now they’ve got three local ones and hopefully everyone will be happy,” he said.
He then laid praise on Allen and Football Northwest for getting the stadium approved, and said Seattle will be home to “one of the top stadiums” in the NFL.
Ken Behring, his son said, isn’t unhappy the vote turned out the way it did. Ken Behring will reap $200 million from Allen for the team, and also now is out of the Seattle media firing line and will have more time to devote to real estate interests.
“The media didn’t help us,” David Behring said. “I thought (Ken Behring) was unmercilessly hit. I believe there should have been more fairness.”
He said Ken Behring spent a lot of money to improve the team, but couldn’t spend more because of the stadium situation.
“He didn’t want to lose five, 10 million a year,” David Behring said, adding he thinks things would have worked out better had quarterbacks Dan McGwire and Rick Mirer panned out as hoped.
“My father doesn’t regret getting involved,” David Behring said. “He regrets the way it turned out.”
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