Phoenix Suns: McDonough slightly backtracks bribery accusation

Phoenix Suns Ryan McDonough (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Phoenix Suns Ryan McDonough (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

After Ryan McDonough accused Phoenix City Councilman, Sal DiCiccio of taking bribes, he backtracked and focused on his racism instead.

Former Phoenix Suns General Manager caused quite a stir Friday afternoon when he accused Phoenix City Councilman, Sal DiCiccio of taking bribes in order to secure a vote on Talking Stick Resort Arena’s $230 million renovation.

DiCiccio denied this charge and pledged to pursue a formal investigation into the matter.

McDonough went on to clarify his accusation and slightly backtracked it, focusing more on the racist undertones of DiCiccio’s tweet, instead.

Former Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough claims no one did anything illegal.

He said:

"I see my previous tweet elicited quite a strong response from several people except, of course, [Sal DiCiccio] himself. Just to be abundantly clear, I am not implying that anyone associated with the [Phoenix Suns] did anything illegal or violated campaign contribution laws in any way. …shape, or form. Of course, all political donations are public records so anyone is able to see who gave/received money in a political campaign, including donations DiCiccio received in the past.In fact, the intent of my tweet was to point out that DiCiccio had accepted money (legally, of course) from [Phoenix Suns] related parties in the past, posed for a ‘photo op’ at their brand new practice facility groundbreaking ceremony and STILL put out a race baiting tweet referring to NBA players as ‘whiny b*****s.’Now I don’t work for the [Phoenix Suns] anymore or have a vote in Phoenix’s District 6 City Council in 2021 but I would encourage everyone to take a look at [Sal DiCiccio’s] thinly veiled racist language and decide if it is acceptable for a grown man to speak about a group of high character, intelligent and predominantly Black young men the way he did.And if [Sal DiCiccio] were thinking about ‘apologizing’ or saying that his tweets were ‘accidental’ – he doubled down on his statement in the tweet I’ve attached to this threat. So, Sal – you’re in a tough spot here. On the one hand, you have your base of voters, who you were obviously playing to with your racially charged tweets.On the other hand, [Robert Patterson] almost got you in the 2017 election – and may be gunning for you again next year. So, please apologize to [Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges], and the entire [Phoenix Suns] organization, including the folks associated with the Suns who have supported you in the past.I think…no, no…I KNOW they won’t be supporting you in the future (nor will any other decent human being) so please take the ‘L’ and move on."

Props to McDonough for focusing on the more egregious part of DiCiccio’s initial tweet, the ‘thinly veiled racism’, but there is one major issue with McDonough’s statement:

Sal DiCiccio is not up for re-election.

The maximum term limit for Phoenix City Council is three, and DiCiccio is in the middle of his third term. Maybe it is because DiCiccio doesn’t have the face voters again he feels like he can say whatever he wants.

Of course, he could run for another office, so McDonough’s advice isn’t completely irrelevant, and DiCiccio should (although he clearly won’t) apologize to the Phoenix Suns.

Anyway, it looks like McDonough doesn’t want to take this any further and any kind of perceived bribe was likely done in the smarmy-yet-legal politician way and not the briefcase-under-the-table criminal kind of way.

McDonough went on in a second tweet thread:

"“[Sal DiCiccio] took (legal) money from individuals associated with the Suns in the past and THEN voted AGAINST the arena. Then you showed up at the groundbreaking for a ‘photo op’… and THEN you TRASHED the Suns players.”"

He then quoted a story citing campaign donations between $1,000 and $2,000 from Phoenix Suns CEO Jason Rowley and Senior VP of Ticket Operations Ralph Marcetta.

It is kind of weird that the real accusation seems to be that DiCiccio wasn’t beholden to donors like normal politicians. This doesn’t excuse the Councilman of his hateful rhetoric, but the scandal we thought was there appears to not really be there.

2020 keeps getting weirder.

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