(resembling the above remark)
So, have you all heard about this? Apparently the Knicks team president was totally disrespectful to women and such? And it’s like a big widespread deal in the Garden? I know, me too, but apparently it’s all anyone is talking about. But while we’ll probably have to wait for Isiah Thomas’ guide to talking to ladies until after the upcoming NBA season, it might be that even that wouldn’t be long enough to wait for advice such as, “call her a bitch…then move in for the kiss.” Dude makes Clarence Thomas — whose past as a smooth operator gets a nice overview here in the midst of what The New Republic termed “his national self-pity tour” — look smooth. And anyway, there are more interesting things to discuss here.
Henry Abbott has owned this story — or, rather, the meta-story that is the coverage of the story — at True Hoop, but the two most interesting things I’ve read about it so far are excerpted below. If you somehow haven’t had enough of the Madison Square Garden follies, read on for Selena Roberts perhaps overwritten (okay, way overwritten) but well-reported overview and J.A. Adande’s fine piece on the NBA’s obligations as a league in this matter. Don’t stop ’til you get enough. Here’s Roberts:
As the legend goes, it was years ago, aboard a sleek family yacht, when Charles F. Dolan asked his executive crewmates an earnest question: What about Jim?
His son needed an occupation. Something to divert his rock-star ambitions. Something to focus him. So he decided to give James L. Dolan what amounted to a skate key to Madison Square Garden, a business irrelevant to the Cable Daddy™s vast bottom line, a playground where his son could do no harm.
Except Jim turned his toy into a weapon. Inside the Garden, œGot Hurt? has become the slogan for vulnerable staffers. For years, he has wounded careers and savaged dissenters while assembling a cult of personality where only his sycophants survive amid a game of Jim-nastics.
Bend around his outbursts ” or you™ll end up like the employee fired for serving flat cola. Maneuver past Jim™s insecurity ” or you™ll be eviscerated like the security guard who didn™t recognize the Garden owner™s face…
Commissioner David Stern has offered a public silence over yesterday™s verdict in the civil case between Browne Sanders and the Garden, but N.B.A. team officials privately believe he will seek a discussion with Charles Dolan in an effort to diminish Jim™s power at the top.
It would not be surprising if N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman, no doubt bracing for the Rangers™ trial fallout, followed Stern to the doorknocker at Daddy Dolan™s office.
By all accounts, Charles is a gracious soul, a true gentleman. He would listen to Stern and Bettman like a reasonable man. Charles has always been loath to confront Jim on Garden matters, but this latest episode of œAnimal House isn™t a scandal about firing a coach or buying out contracts or trading for a miscreant. This is about professional decorum, about fair treatment, about a family legacy.
Right now, the Garden has one rule: Whatever Jim wants. But there are signs his iron fist has fissures. Two people familiar with the workings at Madison Square Garden said a group of staff members felt uncomfortable with a plan by management to have employees come forward to express their workplace joy yesterday. They refused to take part in the public relations ploy, and the plan never materialized.
NBA commissioner David Stern is supposed to be the tough guy, the papa who don’t take no mess, the one with a history of wielding hammers like a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. He holds players accountable for what they wear to the games, what lines they rap in a recording studio, how they behave in the offseason.
But when it comes to owners, he’s been a softie. Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss pleaded guilty to drunk driving over the summer without any repercussions from the league. What’s a bigger threat to society: a 23-year-old player walking into the locker room with baggy jeans and a do-rag or a 74-year-old team owner driving with a blood alcohol content of .13?
Now there’s this Garden mess, in which Dolan came off as an indifferent frathouse president, Thomas was portrayed as a person who doesn’t mind women being called “bitches” (as long as black people are saying it) and doesn’t care about the season ticket holders (as long as they are white people), and the term “truck sex” appeared in a New York Post headline (to describe a rendezvous between a player and a team intern).
If Stern is concerned about the “culture” of the NBA, and how it’s viewed by fans and sponsors, shouldn’t he start with the Knicks?