Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic called in to Baskin & Phelps Wednesday to debate Andy about his comments regarding LeBron James, Dan Gilbert and Baskin’s blog rebuttal.
Below are some highlights from the interview:
Andy Baskin: My point here is that Akron’s favorite son, the best athlete to ever come out of Akron—I think we can agree on that, okay—that Lebron James won a championship, why would you even go down the road of Dan Gillbert here? That’s my bigger point, and that’s my biggest question.
Mayor Don Plusquellic: You know why? Because people in Cleveland still criticize, when I go up I hear it, I hear it in sports bars, people are still booing, people are still rooting against him and blaming him and there’s always another side of the story.
Baskin: Don’t try to rewrite history…I would say that to any politician. I’ve said that to the president of the United States, Mr. Mayor.
Mr Mayor: What you say on your show is one thing…
Baskin: Go ahead, I give you all the time you need right now.
Mr. Mayor: You said, “the mayor oughta spend time getting jobs…I have been an MVP—I played sports; I have been an MVP as mayor—I just got the top economic development official award, so are you telling me that I should be spending time on economic development in Akron but I’m not allowed to have an opinion about sports?”
Baskin: You can have an opinion.
Mr. Mayor: Your statements imply that I shouldn’t have an opinion. And I’ve been following these teams—Cleveland teams are my teams. I don’t watch Dallas and I didn’t watch Miami when they were winning and I certainly didn’t become a Pittsburgh fan—even when I was going to University of Pittsburgh, playing big-time football, I didn’t become a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. So that’s first and foremost. I oughta have an opinion just like everybody else.
Mr. Mayor: One thing that’s great about sports—it’s the great equalizer. I could play against the wealthiest people, and it was on my performance that I was judged. I oughta have as much right to an opinion as anybody else that you talk to, and I probably know more than, I would guess, at least 50% of the people you talk to, because I actually played sports.
Baskin: If I’m the mayor of Akron, which I’m not, I’m very proud of Lebron James for winning another championship. And Lebron has done everything possible to prove all the haters wrong. He went out and said, “I’m not gonna win not 1, not 2.” I thought it was disrespectful, but I have nothing but respect for him at this point because he’s accomplished what he wanted to do. That’s my point. My point is I don’t want to go back down the Dan Gillbert road here anymore. I want to move forward. You want to have a great city in Akron. I want to have a great city in Cleveland. I want to have a great city in Akron. You want to have a great city in Cleveland. I want economic growth for our entire region—that’s my point. We have to be together on this stuff. That’s where I’m going with it. I respect the fact you’ve played all the sports you have. I respect the fact that you have an opinion about sports and I’m willing to let you say it and I’m happy about it. But not all the time is everyone going to agree with what you’re going to say. And that’s my point. End of story, for me at least. I appreciate you coming on the air with us, if you have anything else to say you’re more than welcome to.
Mr. Mayor: I didn’t start this. I expressed an opinion. And if you go back and read honestly, take my name or anybody else’s name, and just read what you wrote, this was a direct shot at me that the mayor needs to be worrying about jobs and economic growth in Summit County. That infers that I don’t.
Baskin: Mr. Mayor, we have a racino IN OUR OWN COUNTY. I live in Summit County, too.
Mr. Mayor: This is why I don’t do talk radio—because you just keep saying things that aren’t true.
Mr. Mayor: Why would you even make this argument? This is the most ridiculous thing that you’ve said so far—that Dan Gilbert doesn’t own the gambling interest in Northeast Ohio.
Hear the audio of the full call here.