Recently, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News told a story during his podcast of being stuck with a large dinner bill after losing a bet with 49ers CEO Jed York regarding the timely opening of the team’s stadium.
The Seinfeld-style “levels” wager had Kawakami predicting that the venue wouldn’t be finished in time for the 2014 season, with a meal on the line. The stadium was indeed completed before the deadline, and York brought his wife along for the dinner at French Laundry — an expensive restaurant.
Kawakami ultimately picked up the full tab for himself, York, and York’s wife, for a grand total of $2,100. Via Deadspin, Kawakami seemed to be more bothered by the fact that York was oblivious to the relative impact of that kind of an expense to the overall budget of a man of Kawakami’s means.
“If I thought Jed was sticking it to me, I’d almost be OK with it,” Kawakami said. “I don’t even think he knew. I don’t think he knew what $2,100 means to a sportswriter who didn’t inherit a billion-dollar team.”
In a statement issued by the 49ers to PFT, York responded to Kawakami’s complaint.
“The bet took place two years ago and Tim has never shared his concerns about the dinner with me,” York said. “I am happy to speak with Tim one-on-one so we can all move forward.”
It’s indeed odd that Kawakami never conveyed his concern privately to York or to the team, opting instead to broadcast the complaint publicly two years later. It’s even more odd that Kawakami — who ordinarily isn’t bashful about asking tough questions or communicating candid opinions — didn’t say to York at the time, “I’m not paying for your wife’s meal.”