The Dolans are one of America’s worst families. If the Kennedys are the American version of the Royal Family, then the Dolans are our Borgias.
Charles Dolan founded the immensely evil Cablevision (they’re evil even when compared with other cable companies). His brother Larry bought the Cleveland Indians in 2000, and ran a successful franchise into the ground. His son James owns Cablevision and the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.
Jimmy D’s exploits as Knicks owner are as well-chronicled as they are disastrous. If Larry Dolan has turned a once mildly proud franchise into a cellar dwellar, his brother has turned one of basketball’s marquee teams into a perennial laughingstock, and an embarrassment to an entire city.
As a Knicks fan, I abandoned the team years ago (even pre-Isiah), and swore I’d only return if Dolan sells the team. And I plan to stick to that vow even in the unlikely event that the Knicks lure LeBron James away from Cleveland. But of James Dolan’s many faults, being the worst NBA owner in history isn’t even tops on the list. No, being a censoring, monopoly-building megalomaniac takes that prize. For now.
First, Dolan bought Newsday, and promptly defanged the paper’s coverage of his basketball team. Like the Chicago Tribune’s soft-hearted coverage of the Cubs from days of yore, but worse.
Now, in his latest salvo against the free press, Dolan has pulled all of his companies’ advertising from The Village Voice (and encouraged partner companies to do the same) because of a joke; a joke that wasn’t even at his expense.
When Dolan bought out the Web site Gothamist, Voice writer Foster Kamer said, “Wonder how Dobkin’s gonna feel with Jimmy Dolan’s cock in his mouth?” — alluding to Gothamist owner Jake Dobkin’s criticism of the New York Times giving a “blowjob” profile. See Voice Editor Tony Ortega’s detailed explanation of the hubbub.
On the basis of that one line, Dolan declared war on the paper, costing the Voice an estimated one million dollars in advertising revenue. Now, as a business owner, Dolan can do what he wants with his advertising dollars, even if it shows him to be a humorless cock. But this latest incident is part of a pattern that shows disdain and disregard for the media.
Dolan sues media outlets at the drop of a hat, he pulls channels off Cablevision whenever there’s a contract dispute, and he uses money and intimidation to bully the media into doing what he wants. The United States long ago passed anti-trust legislation to prevent the kind of influence that Dolan can now exert. Unfortunately, in recent years, our government has been disinterested in enforcing those laws.