On Wednesday, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green spoke out about the ongoing feud between former Knick Charles Oakley, and Knicks owner James Dolan.
On his podcast, “Uninterrupted,” Green said that Dolan’s reaction to Oakley showed the Knicks owner had a “slave master’s mentality.”
“No. 1 — (Oakley) is a legend. Treat him as such. Why is (Oakley) buying a ticket to a game, first off? … It wasn’t a problem when (Oakley) was speaking out (when he played in the 1990s). It wasn’t a problem when he was protecting (the Knicks’) superstars then. So if it wasn’t a problem then when he was doing it for y’all, why is it all of a sudden a problem now when he speak out on something that he don’t like, and now you want to disown him from your entire organization? … That’s a slave mentality. A slave master mentality. That’s ridiculous.
It was all fine and dandy when he was laying people out, taking fines, and all this stuff for your organization. But now all of a sudden, when he say something that he feels, it’s a problem. I disagree with that. I definitely think, like I said, that that’s a slave master mentality.”
According to ESPN, “Oakley was ejected from Madison Square Garden and arrested after an altercation with arena security on Feb. 8. The Knicks said Oakley was ejected after being verbally abusive to security; Oakley, who was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault for his physical confrontation with security, denies the Knicks’ version of events.”
The “slave master” line has gotten a lot of run in the NBA over the years. Jesse Jackson accused Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert of having something akin to a slave master’s mentality when Gilbert reacted angrily following LeBron James’ decision to walk away from Cleveland and join the Miami Heat. Jackson said Gilbert viewed LeBron as a “runaway slave.”
Not only does Green’s assertion that Dolan has the mentality of a slave master fail the moral and historical test, it also fails the ownership test, literally. James Dolan did not own the New York Knicks when Charles Oakley played for them. Oakley got traded before Dolan took over the organization. So why would Dolan have a “slave owner” mentality over Oakley?
While a strong case exists for considering Dolan quite possibly the worst owner in the history of sports, a very weak case exists for calling him a racist. After all, James Dolan singlehandedly kept Isiah Thomas in basketball long after he should have been shown the door.
Not only did Dolan hire Thomas, who is black, to coach the Knicks, he also hired him to coach the New York Liberty, the WNBA team that Dolan also owns. Dolan did this even after Thomas had been charged with sexual discrimination against a woman named Anucha Browne, a former team executive.
Browne eventually won an $11.5 million dollar judgment against Madison Square Garden, which Dolan owns. In other words, Dolan hired a black coach, who, in addition to being a bad coach then cost him nearly twelve million dollars in a highly publicized discrimination case. And, how did the owner with the “slave mentality” punish Thomas’ transgressions against the Knicks and women? He gave him another job. In this case, a job that put him in charge of women.
That makes Dolan a dumb owner, but most assuredly not a racist one. If Draymond Green had bothered to look up Dolan’s history, instead of relying on tired, lazy, reflexive liberal race-card playing, he too could have seen that.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn