Dolan Clarifies His Racist Stance on Racism

So James Dolan sent an email to his MSG employees to clarify his position on racism:

“I know how important this topic is to so many, and I do not want there to be any confusion about where I as an individual, or we as a company stand. So let me be clear: we vehemently condemn and reject racism against anyone, period.”

OK that’s a good start for Mr. Dolan. You might ask as a company, what is MSG doing to combat racism? Well:

“My point yesterday was about actions, and the importance of living your values,” Dolan’s Tuesday email continued. “At Madison Square Garden, we have worked hard to build an environment of inclusion and mutual respect and those are the values we try to live every day.

“Racism is born of ignorance and it’s up to each of us to understand the person working beside you is your equal without regard to color, or any of the other qualities that make us diverse. And any injustice to one person is an injustice to everyone.

“This is how we at MSG fight racism. We start with ourselves, and through our actions, we define who we are. That is how we can be an example to the wider world. That was the point of my message yesterday.

“I am proud of the environment you have created here. I know that this is a difficult time, and that we will always need to communicate with one another on hard issues. I will continue to do as much as I can to do as much as I can to help make our community even better. I know you will also.”

No. That’s not how you fight racism. That’s not at all how you fight racism. Dolan clears the lowest bar of anti-racism here with “the person working beside you is your equal without regard to color.” Sure I guess that’s the basic definition of racism so — hooray? From a historical context he’s met the 19th century bar for being woke.

“And any injustice to one person is an injustice to everyone.” Sure thing, but today we’re specifically talking about injustices to people of color. I understand that from some perspectives you could argue that he’s taking a stronger stance on racism, not limiting it to one type. But on the other hand, he’s specifically ignoring the message that black people bare the brunt of legal injustices — from citizens calling 911 on them for normal activities (jogging, being at the gym, etc.), to their unequal treatment by the law including police, prosecutors, judges, and juries. Of course you could add economic racism, with regards to schools, careers, upward mobility, red lining, bank loans, etc. All of this gets lost when you change the mantra from race specific to all of humanity.

Let’s clarify this point with an example. Imagine for a second that you have a family member with (God forbid) larynx cancer. So you decide to raise some money to bring awareness to larynx cancer. After some initial success, you go to your next potential donor and they remark “why are you only raising money for larynx cancer? Don’t we want to defeat all cancer? And why stop at cancer? You should tackle all illnesses!”

Strictly speaking the donor has a point. Raising money to defeat all illness is a much stronger goal. But by taking the stronger stance, your message has gotten diluted. If you raise money for all cancer or all illnesses, little to no money will be used for larynx cancer, because there are more popular things to use that money on. And now larynx cancer is again an afterthought, and the message you’re trying to convey is lost.

That’s exactly what Dolan is doing here. He’s obscuring the message that people of color are being oppressed. He’s lumping in the problems of the African American community with everyone else, so that the problems affecting black people are not as important as the ones we all suffer. People who generalize the message, taking the message from one group and applying it to the whole, are in essence diverting the original ideals and goals. Which means it is in opposition to that movement.

And Dolan continues: “This is how we at MSG fight racism. We start with ourselves, and through our actions, we define who we are.” The underlying theme is that racism can solved by everyone’s personal reflection, ignoring that there is a problem that needs to be tackled from a communal sense.

Now if you’re white, read that last line again, but this time imagine you’re not white. Imagine you’re a black person who has suffered numerous acts of racism in your lifetime. Does his solution seem to fix any of those racist incidents? “This is how we at MSG fight racism. We start with ourselves, and through our actions, we define who we are.”

By starting with an inner journey, could you stop the security guard from following you around in that store? By looking at yourself in the mirror, could you have prevented those taxis from speeding past you when you needed one? Would some self reflection have fixed that interaction with the person in your neighborhood who called the cops on you and your friends who were just hanging out in front of your house? Did the innocent victims of racist police brutality just fail to find their inner self?

People of color know that racism doesn’t get solved by people of color. They know they’re not at fault when people look at their darker skin and make nefarious assumptions. So how do Dolan’s words help them?

This begs the question — who is Dolan’s audience for this line? Surely it’s not black people. So then who? And why? Is it for white people to assuage their culpability? Is it so he can look in the mirror and say he has hired black people to prominent positions and declare he’s not a racist to himself by his own meager definition and not have to feel guilty about what is happening?

By failing to mention systematic racism directly and failing to take in to account the perspective of people of color, Dolan’s attempts at being woke instead reveals his racist convictions. Dolan doesn’t have to say anything blatantly racist, it’s clear from the subtext and the parts he omitted to specifically mention. For any person, these are disagreeable beliefs. But for an owner in a sport where 75% of the players are black, it’s straight up bad for business.

As You Would Expect, James Dolan Has a Terrible Take on George Floyd

Pablo Torre posted a leaked e-mail from Dolan to folks in the Knicks organization explaining why Dolan won’t be making an official statement about George Floyd (28 other NBA teams have, with the Spurs being the only other team not to make a statement).

It’s not gassing a bunch of peaceful protesters so that you could clear out the area in front of a church for a photo opportunity bad, but nor is it good.

NY Daily News: Kenny Atkinson is on Knicks coaching list: report

From Stefan Bondy:

The former Nets coach will be among the candidates interviewed for the Knicks position, according to The Athletic. As previously reported, Tom Thibodeau and Mike Miller are also expected to sit down with team president Leon Rose for consideration.

Atkinson unexpectedly became available after being fired by the Nets in March, just about a week before the NBA season shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 52-year-old Long Island product had Brooklyn in a playoff spot despite the absence of his two best players — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, Atkinson never connected with Irving, in particular, and owner Joe Tsai consulted with players before making the decision not to retain his coach.

Atkinson’s strength is development, and the Knicks remain in that phase with a young group highlighted by RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox. They’ll also have a lottery pick in the upcoming draft.

Some surprisingly nice news.

It’d be pretty cool if they hired him.

NY Post: Knicks mailbag: Talking NBA Draft plan and if LaMelo Ball fits

Marc Berman has some interesting draft thoughts:

Should the Knicks go for the best fit or the best player available in this year’s draft? — Yaron Rahmani

The Knicks need to go for the best fit and that’s a point guard for the future because it’s so difficult to snare an elite one in free agency.

It is a weak draft in which some believe there’s not a whole lot of difference among the top-12 rated players. That’s highly unusual. Might as well go for need.

The Post has learned unequivocally LaMelo Ball is currently the top-rated point guard on the Knicks’ board.

That should hardly be surprising, knowing new president Leon Rose likes to shoot for the stars. Knicks officials believe the 6-foot-7 playmaker/driver has one of the higher upsides in the entire draft despite his lack of a 3-point shot. Rose has already dealt with outspoken father Lavar Ball when his sons were briefly with Creative Artists Agency.

Enlarge ImageLaMelo Ball
LaMelo BallAP
The Post already has reported league insiders believe father Lavar Ball will attempt to steer him to the big-market Knicks. What does that entail if the Knicks stay at the sixth spot in the draft? They’d probably have to trade up into the top 3 with a club not so hot on either LaMelo or Lavar. Hopefully that team won’t ask for a king’s ransom.

If the Knicks remain at No. 6 after the lottery drawing, Ball is not expected to fall to that slot. Keep an eye on the Pistons and Ball in the lottery. Detroit is one of the few teams dying for a point guard, too.

If the Knicks are in the 6-10 range, Cole Anthony, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, Tyrese Maxey — maybe even trading back for R.J. Hampton or Kira Lewis — will all be in play.

I wonder if Cole Anthony will room with RJ Barett on the road next season.

ESPN.com: Knicks legend, Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing tests positive for coronavirus

From Jeff Borzello:

Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing has tested positive for the coronavirus, the school announced Friday. The Hall of Famer is under care and isolated at a local hospital

“I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly,” Ewing said in a statement. “I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Now more than ever, I want to thank the healthcare workers and everyone on the front lines. I’ll be fine and we will all get through this.”

The school said Ewing is the only member of the Georgetown men’s basketball program to have tested positive for the virus.

Here’s hoping for the best for the great Patrick Ewing!

NY Post: Mitchell Robinson is showing off skills we’ve never seen before

From Howie Kussoy at the Post:

Mitchell Robinson has been the big man the Knicks envisioned, becoming one of the best shot-blockers in the NBA, while holding what would stand as the best single-season field goal percentage (74.2) in league history.

But the 7-footer isn’t satisfied living in the paint.

One week after video was posted showing Robinson drilling a pair of 3-pointers — one via step-back — the 22-year-old center has shown off his previously unseen ball-handling skills again, before hitting a fadeaway jumper just inside the 3-point line.

At the start of this season, Robinson — coming off an All-Rookie Second Team selection — said he planned on shooting more from the perimeter.

“Why work on something you’re not going to use? I’m looking forward to it,” Robinson said. “I’m shooting the thing now.”

Hey, I’m all for Mitch Robinson, three-point threat.