The New York Knicks and New York Rangers owner and the CEO of the legendary Madison Garden James Dolan has always been controversial. Making boneheaded decisions with icons and fans like Charley Oakley and Spike Lee, ruining ties with star players like Kristaps Porzingis, and failures to provide a title from either team since the 90s. This is already enough to say “Wow he is a horrible owner” but that’s not even the end of it. Hiring sexual assaulter Isiah Thomas as a coach, making horrible front office decisions, and the Knicks not winning more than 37.8% of their games in a season since 2013-2014 are also more than disgusting acts as an owner, and his incompetence is well documented. Where I draw the line?
When the entire country is in the midst of a movement to end the killings of innocent African American lives and you don’t even feel as if you should use your power as a wealthy powerful white man to at least make a statement.
In a letter by James Dolan released internally was quoted to say “As companies in the business of sports and entertainment, however, we are not any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters. What’s important is how we operate”. This to me is understandable if the Knicks and Rangers or MSG had actually made significant actions in order to support the movement in getting justice for George Floyd.
The issue is that they haven’t, and they’re the only team other than the Spurs to not release a statement, but unlike the Knicks, the Spurs’ legendary HOF-worthy coach Gregg Popovich made a statement about this situation and is part of a committee of coaches that involve former Knicks coach David Fizdale that will help local leaders and communities with this issue. I’m not only as a New Yorker and person of color disgusted and dumbfounded by Dolan’s refusal to use his platform to aid this cause but utterly baffled.
I do not believe forcing people into political activism is a good thing, even for a great cause because we each should have individual liberties. That doesn’t mean if you see the city and state you have such influence in trying to fight against injustice that you just sit there and refuse to do anything. You have players on the Knicks reportedly outraged, you have other owners releasing statements and having people aware, and all you have done is say you’re not “qualified” to have opinions on this matter. If you’re not “qualified” to have opinions on one of the most pivotal moments in American history, then you’re not qualified to own a team in New York.
As New Yorkers and as a content creator with a platform, unlike Dolan, I’d like to use this platform to advocate for those who are protesting and condemn the minority that are destroying things for personal gain. I’d also like to provide links for a GoFundMe for David McAtee’s family, as he was an African American man wrongly killed by police during the protests, a GoFundMe for George Floyd’s family, a man killed by disgusting men who abused their power as cops, and a link to a Change.Org petition get the degree of murder on the man who killed George Floyd raised.
As New Yorkers or Americans (for all my non-NY readers), let’s make the change we want to see in our country, unlike James Dolan, even if we don’t have the money or power he does. While all lives do equally matter to me, right now black ones are at risk due to these killings. Let’s make sure we do everything we can to help African Americans feel like they know their lives and their voices matter and are heard.