LOS ANGELES, April 29, 2014 — There are not many fans who are envious of those in the Clipper Nation right now, except Knicks fans. Seeing this as the only possible way to get rid of their owner, Knicks fans may want to start searching for something racist in James Dolan’s past, but they will not find anything. James Dolan looks to be anything but racist and is a pretty good guy all around, so long as you ignore his job performance with the Knicks.
The National Basketball Association saw its exciting playoffs overshadowed by a secret recording allegedly of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. In the recording leaked to TMZ, a voice believed to be that of Sterling expressed blatantly racist attitudes, including a wish that blacks not attend Clippers games.
Public condemnation of Sterling was swift, severe and appropriate. League punishments could range from a slap on the wrist to a suspension to forcing him to sell the team.
Sterling’s outnumbered defenders have cited his age. He is an 80-year-old man dating a 31-year-old biracial woman. She incurred his wrath by posting photos of her with black NBA legend Magic Johnson and Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp on her Instagram page. If Sterling were senile, he would not know what Instagram is. Apparently, it is a social network, whatever that is.
Lost in the brouhaha is a sad truth. Sterling may be punished for being a terrible human being, but he was never punished for his thirty years of being terrible at his job.
Over the span of three decades, Sterling presided over a reign of error where his teams rarely won anything. The crosstown rival Lakers won multiple championships while the Clippers remained a league laughingstock. Being an owner is the only job where utter incompetence comes without accountability.
The drive to force Sterling out of the NBA could inspire long-suffering New York Knicks fans to go the same route.
Knicks owner James Dolan is a terrible owner. Since forcing out the highly respected coach Jeff Van Gundy over a decade ago, the Knicks have mostly been losers. There is only one hope for Knicks fans.
James Dolan must commit an act of racism immediately.
There are no other options. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had American blacks and whites standing together and chanting “we shall overcome.” Dr. King was not a Knicks fan. As long as Dolan stays, neither black nor white fans will ever overcome their shared united frustration. Even bringing in coaching legend Phil Jackson as president will not help if Dolan micromanages as he always does.
If the New York chapters of the NAACP and KKK can unite, perhaps they can work hard to maybe find something racist in Dolan’s past.
Dolan owns Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks play. As David Letterman’s sidekick Paul Schaeffer once said, “Fertilizer and the New York Knicks” are “two things that continue to stink up the garden.”
It could be a family curse. His father, Charles Dolan, founded Cablevision, which continues to provide bad service of bad Knicks teams playing badly. His uncle, Larry Dolan, owns baseball’s Cleveland Indians, who range from being lovable losers to just losers.
Surely in a lifetime of failed leadership, James Dolan could have the decency of being a terrible person. No such luck.
James Dolan raises millions of dollars “for pancreatic cancer,” but it turns out he is against pancreatic cancer and not in favor of it. He raised millions more for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Dolan also owns the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers. Whenever Dolan has a good coach such as the Rangers’ John Tortorella or the Knicks’ Larry Brown, Dolan fires them quickly. Disastrous executives like the Knicks’ Isaiah Thomas are allowed to stay on until the internal team destruction is complete.
The only hope is for people of all races to demand that Dolan become a racist. Otherwise, he will never sell the team. Over 50 years after Dr. King gave his “I have a dream” speech, there is only a nightmare for Knicks fans of all races.
The National Football League is carefully monitoring the NBA to see what can be done about the ownership of the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions.
If Dolan had any decency, he would follow Sterling’s less than sterling example of humanity and become a racist. Then he could be forced to sell the team, and the healing for Knicks fans of all stripes can finally begin.
Otherwise, the truism of professional sports will reign forever. The worst owner in sports is still an owner, and owners do not get fired for failure.