Clay Bennett has a chance to be a hero. Has a chance to walk into the Ford Center in the not-too-distant future, 19,000 homefolks strong chanting his name and singing his praises. That sounds like the night of a lifetime and has to appeal to even a stoic like Bennett. But before that glory gets here, before Bennett and his buddies are grand marshals of a Welcome-the-Sonics parade down Reno Avenue, there's a price to pay. Bennett, the front man for the Oklahoma City businessmen who want to bring the NBA to their hometown, is about to be dragged through the mud in Seattle. And with all that rain, there's plenty of mud in Seattle. Bennett announced Friday that he filed relocation papers with the NBA to move the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City. Will the Sonics arrive next season or 2010? To be determined. But etch this in stone: Bennett is a dirty word in the Pacific Northwest. Here are a few things Bennett has been called in public since becoming the Sonic owner a year ago. "Duplicitous salesman. Truth-challenged. Artful Dodger. Thin-skinned. "In the spotlight as graceful as Britney Spears dancing on MTV.” Ouch, ouch, ouch, double-ouch and hitting below the belt. And all that came from just one Seattle wordsmith, Steve Kelley of the Times. Sometimes, Bennett has company. The entire ownership group has been called robber barons, evil doers, fat-cat burglars, not-so-good ol' boys, Oklahoma City bullies, carpetbaggers, fat cats and suits from the South. Bennett says he's been surprised at the venom tossed his way, but he shouldn't be. This is what happens when cities are threatened with losing their ballteams. We can see that in Seattle's response the last couple of months. Seattle has gone on the attack, with the court case to keep the Sonics from arbitration over the KeyArena lease and constant and pointed remarks by city leaders that they will not stand idly by as the Sonics scoot out of town. This is going to get nasty, and the best thing is to remember it's nothing personal. Nothing personal against Bennett, nothing personal against Oklahoma City, which will be on the receiving end of plenty of snide remarks coming from LatteTown. This always happens when franchises move. Fifty years after Walter O'Malley moved the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, his name still angers New Yorkers. When O'Malley threatened to move, fans carried signs that said "O — Biggest Bum of Them All” and "O'Malley — Brooklyn's Hitler.” The New York Times' Arthur Daley wrote that "the only word that fits the Dodgers is greed.” Years later, Howard Golden, past borough president of Brooklyn, said, "People still equate what O'Malley did with the knife that struck on Pearl Harbor.” History exonerated O'Malley. New York City politics squelched O'Malley's reasonable demands for permission to build a new ballpark in Brooklyn. New York politicos played chicken with the Dodgers and lost. The cities almost always lose. In Baltimore, Bob Irsay was vilified after taking the Colts to Indianapolis, but Baltimore eventually built a new stadium and swiped the Browns from Cleveland. Art Modell was vilified for moving those Browns, but Cleveland very soon built a new stadium for the new Browns. In Charlotte, George Shinn was Public Enemy No. 1, but soon after he took the Hornets to New Orleans, Charlotte put up a new building and got the expansion Bobcats. In Houston, Bud Adams was lampooned for moving the Oilers to Tennessee, but Houston quickly built a new stadium for the expansion Texans. Build now or lose your team and build later. That seems to be the options for a major-league city. Franchise owners possess a precious commodity, and like it or not, you have to play ball with them. And if you don't, you vilify them. Bennett and Co. will try to negotiate a quick exit from Seattle, and Seattle will in turn try to make Bennett look like a bad man. A very bad man. Hope he's got thick skin. Either that or the vision to see the day when he goes from villain to hero.