(Image via Sporting News)
I had started writing this article as a long diatribe outlining James Dolan’s inadequacies as a team owner. Some 2000 words in I realized – people know all of this already. So today I’m going to try and be more succinct, but succinct with a purpose.
Firstly – Dolan is a tyrant no different from any other. Sure Dictators in the political realm are playing with higher stakes. Dolan isn’t about to have anyone executed. But he is operating an organisation that is supposed to exist for our entertainment. Just like a nation-state which is supposed to exist for the benefit of all citizens. And just like a tyrant, Dolan runs the Knicks solely for his own amusement. They exist for his financial and personal benefit and decision making occurs at his whim.
Recently he had a fan banned from the stadium for yelling ‘sell the team’. What more do I need to say?
If we harken back to the demise of Donald Sterling, we see a historical precedent. Owners can be ousted if public opinion turns against them sharply enough. Fans will say this is false equivalency because Sterling’s particular transgressions and personal attitudes to race were especially egregious. But Sterling’s attitudes were well known by fans, players, and journalists for years. His taped conversation was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The premise of Sterling’s firing is this: these teams are not playthings for the rich. Their money is generated by our interest in the game. If an owner transgresses in a way that we find objectionable, it is within our power to usurp them.
I believe this fundamentally about all things in life. No amount of money gives you the right to hinder someone else’s liberty. All power is illegitimate unless granted to you by the collective choice of those people over whom you deign to have power.
Dolan has just given us one more example of how he believes his status as a billionaire gives him the right to impinge on a fans freedom to watch the team he loves. We as fans should view this as an injury to us all. If we stand by while a man who merely yelled ‘sell the team’ is banned from MSG, what sort of standard are we tacitly accepting? And where does the line get pushed to next? If we even say ‘Dolan’ with the wrong inflection will we be rushed by security?
Dolan’s authority is illegitimate. We have allowed him to run this team into the ground for long enough. Now the Mad King strolls through MSG wantonly tossing anyone who verbally pierces his extremely thin skin. This is beyond a joke. Beyond just getting angry and commenting on Twitter.
Today then, a call to action.
Dolan has established that despite his thin skin he is impervious to external commentary about his incompetence. Impervious to the extent that as long as he is making money and has the power to shut down any negative commentary that comes his way – he will continue to run the team however he wants.
The only solution then is to hit this man where it matters most – his wallet.
My proposal, as frustrating as this might be to Knick fans, is to dry up this man’s revenue.
Stop going to games. Stop buying the merchandise.
Give the Mad King what he wants. A silent, empty cave where he watches his team – alone. Free from verbal conflict, in a silo of his own self ingratiating thoughts.
I know there’s not much time left in the season – but a sharp drop in attendance will make Dolan think twice. If the team is still his by the start of the 2019-2020 season, we continue to stay home. This will not only send the most injurious message it will also crater offers for the team. As long as Dolan can live in his delusion where he sells the team for $5 Billion + he will continue in his torturous tenure in the comfort of knowing he can still deliver profit to his shareholder’s.
Let’s see what sort of offers are out there when no one attends games.
Let’s see how long he can continue his reign of incompetence when shareholder’s start asking why ticket sales don’t exist.
This is the only way.
Visit the link at the bottom of the page to contribute. As little as 1 dollar will help us start a movement to get Dolan as far away from the New York Knicks as possible.