James Dolan Is a Coward

The worst owner in sports proves that, for him, there is no bottom

James Dolan slouches in his seat at a game
New York Knicks owner James Dolan is as handsome as he is competent.
Getty Images

In the new age of These Unprecedented Times, any ties to normalcy can feel reassuring. Thankfully, James Dolan —the bumbling New York Knicks owner and the best argument for the Estate Tax—has proven to be our rock. 

“We at Madison Square Garden stand by our values of a respectful and peaceful workplace. We always will,” Dolan wrote in an email to employees, which ESPN’s Pablo Torre posted on Twitter. “As companies in the business of sports and entertainment, we are not any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters.”


While leadership from every other NBA franchise has issued statements in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the resulting protests, the Knicks have been conspicuously absent. No matter how meaningless this strain of corporate statements can be, it’s galling for Dolan to abdicate any responsibility to use his platform and privilege to enact change — especially when Dolan rakes in so much cash because of the work of young black men. Dolan’s silence is doubly noticeable when held up against the activism of other NBA figures. Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours to lead marches in Atlanta; Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr are both outspoken progressive voices; J.R. Smith marched in Los Angeles

Dolan’s silence is also, ultimately, unsurprising: he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Donald Trump in 2016. After years of ruinously meddling with the Knicks, Dolan now allocates most of his time to his “band” JD and the Straight Shot, a vanity project which is basically masturbating with extra steps. In a moment of stunning self-unawareness, Dolan and his band released “Under That Hood,” a song about Trayvon Martin, in 2017.  “Who is that walking?” Dolan sweatily croaks, “A shadow in the street/Looks like trouble from a judgment seat/There’s no good under that hood.”

Even in a fractured nation, the one thing that people should be able to agree upon is that Dolan sucks super hard; he can unite people in their universal loathing. So please, James, release another atonal bluegrass dirge. You’re our only hope. 

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