Dolan’s email antics reconfirm Commissioner conflicts of interest

AP

The bad news when it comes to hosting a three-hour radio show every weekday is that, from time to time, I have to pay a little attention to sports other than football. The good news is that, in doing so, I’ll often trip over something that has some tangential relevance to the NFL.

Case in point: The decision of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to impose no discipline of any kind on Knicks chairman and CEO James Dolan for sending a ridiculously hostile email to a fan who sent a less-than-ridiculously hostile email to Dolan.

Via our corporate cousins at ProBasketballTalk.com, Silver reasoned that Dolan is a “consummate New Yorker” who responded to an “unkind email” with an “unkind email.”

First, it’s an insult to New Yorkers, feeding the belief that they’re all loudmouth jerks who are quick to anger and wired for retribution in response to any and all actual or perceived indignities. Second, it overlooks the reality that some in society have an obligation to rise above the “F–k me? No, f–k you!” fray.

Dolan owns an NBA team. A bad NBA team. He should be ready, willing, and able to deal with whatever criticism naturally flows from that. Beyond the fact that his NBA team stinks, Dolan has a pretty good life. So there’s no reason to tell 63-year Knicks fans “you are a sad person” and “I’ll bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess” and “you most likely have made your family miserable” and accusing the fan of being an “alcoholic maybe” and “start rooting for the Nets because the Knicks don’t want you.”

Silver, the same Commissioner who was praised a year ago for smacking down Donald Sterling, now comes off as a coward, caught in the inherent conflict of interest for anyone who simultaneously presides over an entire sport and who answers to the owners who hired him and who set his pay. With Sterling, Silver had no choice; a mutiny was unfolding over racist comments made in the privacy of Sterling’s own home. With Dolan, no players or coaches are threatening to boycott Knicks games, and no sponsors are fleeing the Knicks franchise. So if Silver punishes Dolan for being a “consummate New Yorker,” that “consummate New Yorker” may launch his next vendetta against Silver.

How would NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have handled an owner sending a hostile email to a fan? In an alternate NFL universe, Goodell may have found out; fifteen years ago, Dolan’s father nearly bought the Jets, losing the bidding to Woody Johnson. But even without a “consummate New Yorker” running an NFL franchise, the league would be wise to send a reminder to all of the current owners to refrain from doing what Dolan did.

Some things should go without saying, but apparently Dolan wasn’t able to figure it out on his own. Then again, he ultimately didn’t need to figure it out; the man to whom he answers opted to do nothing to one of the men to whom he answers.

37 responses to “Dolan’s email antics reconfirm Commissioner conflicts of interest

  1. And if it were up to me, I would have hit Dolan with a warning:

    Change the way you run the Knicks to our satisfaction or you will face a multi-YEAR suspension (Dolan would in that scenario still own the Knicks, but would be barred from having any input in how the team is run if that happened, similar to what happened when George Steinbrenner was suspended by MLB in the ’70s and again in 1990). That would likely send Dolan a message.

    If an NFL owner did what Dolan did, I suspect Godell would suspend such owner for “conduct detrimental to The Shield” and I suspect would get the backing of fellow owners who realize you can’t do that.

  2. By most accounts Mr. Dolan should be anointed as a threat to sanity of Knicks Nation for his outlandish ineptitude as a hands on owner. You know, a Jerry Jones without the success.

  3. I hate James Dolan. This year has been the worst year in sports in my lifetime (Jets and Knicks fan here) but man I do not understand what the big deal is about all of this. That e-mail the fan sent was hostile. Maybe not ridiculously so like Dolan’s but go up to any self respecting business man and tell him for the past 30+ years you have been terrible at your job and you should quit and see what he has to say to you.

    What Silver said was total bull though and is exactly why I’ve said time and time again on here that an owner wouldn’t be punished for this adn that and then he wasn’t. They are Goodell’s bosses. They pay him. He can’t and won’t do anything against them without support of most if not all of the other owners. Simple as that.

  4. Personally I don’t care because fining a billionaire does nothing and this isn’t something you can blacklist the guy for. James Dolan is a douche and he’s exposed himself to the rest of North America as such.

    However I have serious issues with Adam Silver’s response. Florio covered some of them. God forbid a paying angry fan expresses his displeasure in a manner that from what I understand, wasn’t very hostile at all or didn’t include bad language. The Knicks have been incompetent under Dolan’s leadership and paying fans should be free to express their displeasure. Adam Silver, the commissioner of a professional sports league, is also promoting the idea that two wrongs make a right. Whether you agree with that or not, it’s highly inappropriate for a person with such a significant position to encourage that mentality. Athletes aren’t role models but the commissioner can at least try to be.

    Reality is that Silver isn’t much better then Goodell. Even Roger would have got the Donald Sterling thing right. But the truth is that Sterling wasn’t blacklisted because he’s racist. He was blacklisted because sponsors were pulling out and there was the risk of fans blacklisting the NBA. It was all about the bottom line and there’s nothing to praise about that.

    Perhaps Goodell and Silver can get together and compare their pay checks that they don’t deserve while James Dolan and Jim Irsay continue to live in a fantasy land thinking their respectable people.

  5. “How would NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have handled an owner sending a hostile email to a fan?”

    It depends on if that owner is Robert Kraft or Art Rooney.

  6. Take heart, long-suffering Jets fans. If Woody Johnson had not outbid Cablevision to buy the Jets from the Hess estate in 2000, James Dolan would be running the Jets. Whenever you get down on Johnson, think about what it would be like to have Dolan owning your team.

    As a Yankee fan, I have a recurring nightmare that causes me to wake up in a cold sweat: Hal Steinbrenner selling the Yankees to Dolan. If the Steinbrenner family ever decides to sell, you know that Dolan and Cablevision will be at the front of the line trying to buy the team.

  7. In his e-mail Dolan accused the fan of being an alcoholic and said he has been sober for quite some time.

    Well Jim Irsay used to say the same thing and I didn’t believe him either.

  8. First, it’s an insult to New Yorkers, feeding the belief that they’re all loudmouth jerks who are quick to anger and wired for retribution in response to any and all actual or perceived indignities.
    ——–
    If the shoe fits

  9. I’ll never understand owners and GM’s and even players for that matter that respond to fans that are critical to cheer for a different team.

    We don’t want to cheer for another team. We just want to see some sort of intelligent decisions from the powers that be. Something that says our team is on the right track. We live vicariously through our sports teams. It gives us a chance to connect with others that watch the same teams as we do and to talk trash to fans of other teams.

  10. The Sterling PR disaster could possibly have been avoided had the NBA acted at any earlier point. There were numerous chances to rebuke Sterling for past incidents. Waiting for the critical mass to form for it to become a gigantic scandal is waiting too long.

    I don’t think Dolan really warranted a fine for this but I think it was more serious than an “unkind email” to accuse a long-time fan of being an alcoholic. Silver’s response came across like he found the thing to be funny, which it wasn’t

  11. Adam Silver is a lunatic. He’s literally crazy. The players wanted a 10 day break so they can “unwind” no problem. It’s not like 90% have 3 or 4 months off a year. He was reviewing possible 4 point shots. He also Is looking at Jupiter for the 2020 NBA all star weekend. Google the stuff he says, how him and Goodell are the commissioners of these sports is frightening. lets praise silver because he stuck it to an 85 year old senile owner. Oh he’s so great, great commish let me tell you. ::moves hand in gyrating motion::

  12. “He should be ready, willing, and able to deal with whatever criticism naturally flows from (being an NBA owner).”
    And the person who sends him the criticism should be ready, willing and able to deal with whatever reply his criticism gets. So should society.
    The response Dolan gave didn’t threaten anyone. No one is in danger because of it. If Dolan were not a millionaire, nobody would care.
    There are plenty of challenges that someone like him should be ready, willing and able to deal with because of his status in life. Sending a rather juvenile, mean spirited and defensive email is not one of them. His actions just reminds the non-millionaires that he’s just like the rest of us.

  13. “How would NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have handled an owner sending a hostile email to a fan?”

    —————

    Goodell would hire Ted Wells to conduct a six-month-long investigation.

  14. Woody Johnson is a WAY better owner than Dolan.

    That is scary.

    It is the old ‘ be careful what you wish for’ as there are actually worse owners out there than Johnson.

    Dolan IS that bad.

  15. Maybe, just maybe, Silver picked up the phone, called Nolan and told him to knock that stupid juvenile crap off without holding a press conference in front of a zillion people proclaiming his dominance as commissioner of the NBA. I suspect there’s plenty of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that the media and fans don’t need or deserve to know about.

  16. cmoney20 says:

    Adam Silver is a lunatic. He’s literally crazy.
    ___________

    But what does it say that he makes WAY more sense than Goodell on a number of topics? He’s down with the inevitability of legalized gambling in more places than just Vegas. And his take that it would require at least 4 teams over there to make European play workable is lightyears ahead of Goodell.

  17. First, it’s an insult to New Yorkers, feeding the belief that they’re all loudmouth jerks who are quick to anger and wired for retribution in response to any and all actual or perceived indignities.
    ——————-
    And all New Yorkers just broke out in a pleasant smile and gave a collective golf clap.

  18. First, it’s an insult to New Yorkers…wired for retribution in response to any and all actual or perceived indignities
    ——-
    So the guy who works in New York for a New York based media blob tosses up an indigent response at the perception that New Yorkers are quick to get indigent at any supposed slight.

    And they said irony is dead.

  19. @mogogo1

    He also believes that sponsors and advertising on uniforms is inevitable. He’s out of control and people love it

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