Somehow this Coyotes story got dumber… and better

Who among us has not tried to ignore a debt out of existence?

Who among us has not tried to ignore a debt out of existence?
Illustration: Getty Images

Maybe I should have waited a day. Because nothing with the Arizona Coyotes fails to get better, or funnier, or more abstract when you give it more time. As the layers get unpeeled, the aroma that wafts through the air really defies belief. It is both hilarity and bafflement, mixed in with old people stink.


The morning saw the Coyotes finally respond to Katie Strang’s reporting in The Athletic about how they were due on their taxes and rent, both to the state and the city of Glendale, Ariz., and they might not be let in the building after December 20 if they didn’t pay up. Their response was to blame the lack of payment on “human error,” and that they launched an investigation into it. Because you really need an investigator to skulk around the offices to find out the owners don’t have any goddamn money. They totally mailed the check, my dudes, just wait for the postal worker in a day or two.

Most of us, probably in our youth but maybe still (#nojudgment), have fallen behind on a bill. Maybe it was a credit card you really shouldn’t have gotten, maybe it was the phone bill after you got laid off, sometimes it’s rent when things go haywire like the dog or cat getting sick and you really regret laughing off pet insurance when you heard about it. Whatever it may be, we’re all pretty familiar with the process. When you don’t pay on time, and really not much after the due date, someone calls. Maybe these days it’s an email, but there is no bullhorn like an organization that you owe money. They tend to make a fuss. So the Coyotes want us to believe that whoever was in charge of physically processing these payments just….didn’t? And when the state and/or city called, emailed, raven’d the organization to find out where the money was, whoever received those communications also just…didn’t bother to tell anyone? Thought they would just… go away?

Look, we’ve all done that with creditors. If I keep hanging up the phone, the problem doesn’t exist. But we’re also not professional sports franchises with, supposedly, millions of dollars at play. Needless to say, the Glendale city manager had an eyebrow raised. Even better, while the Coyotes were ready to tell everyone that everything’s paid up and there’s nothing to see here and our accountant just lost use of his fingers at the exact time each month he was supposed to click “REMIT PAYMENT,” the City of Glendale wasn’t exactly saying the same story. They still want theirs, and they haven’t gotten it yet. So this isn’t over. Meanwhile, Gary Bettman — whose arrogance and inability to ever admit he’s wrong are the only reasons the Coyotes exist in this broken, barely breathing, can-only-vomit-and-cry state — is trying a whole Baghdad Bob act.

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Of course, Bettman doesn’t think there’s a problem, because he probably had to goose the NHL owners to cover this loss for the Yotes just like they’ve covered all the others.The Arizona Coyotes, where waiting just a few minutes will always prove that the joke is never quite over, which essentially makes them the NHL’s “Aristocrats,” except there’s even more shit being flung around.

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