Leading Off

Leading Off: #WeWantKarl is a sign of the times for Kings

During the Kings’ 108-101 victory over the Lakers on Sunday, at least several fans at Sleep Train Arena displayed signs saying, #WeWantKarl.

Our Ailene Voisin (http://sacb.ee/27Z6) and those fans agree the Kings should hire veteran coach George Karl, who has been working as an analyst on ESPN since the Nuggets let him go after last season. Karl has a proven track record and has made it clear he wants to coach again, and sooner rather than later.

But at least one of the signs at Sunday’s game caused a bit of a stir when a few tweets said Sleep Train Arena security ordered a fan to put down his sign, with those fans suggesting it was because of the message. Here’s one, for example, tweeted by @afask: “Love how they’re (sic) passion for the team got censored.”

The Kings assure us, however, the decision wasn’t about limiting fans’ passion or what they want to say on their signs, as long as the message is fit for family entertainment. And we’ve seen hundreds of signs at the arena over the years, even ones highly critical of management near the end of the Maloofs’ ownership, so the #WeWantKarl messages shouldn’t be out of bounds.

The Kings insist it was a matter of size, not the message, that the sign in question was larger than the 11-inch-by-17-inch maximum allowed by the NBA. Plus, when signs are too large, they can obstruct the view of other fans.

But we’ve seen plenty of signs that seemed much larger, especially during the “Here We Stay” campaign that worked to keep the Kings in Sacramento and pushed for a new arena after a group led by Vivek Ranadive and backed by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson purchased the team from the Maloofs.

We don’t doubt the Kings’ explanation, and we don’t intend to bring our tape measure to games, but let’s hope the team enforces the size limitation evenly as the campaign to hire Karl grows as expected.

– Tom Couzens


What to watch

College football, Boca Raton Bowl, 3 p.m., ESPN: If you really need a football fix, check out this game between perhaps the two best teams you’ve never seen, Marshall (12-1) and Northern Illinois (11-2).

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