Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sports this 'n' that

James Dolan doesn't get it, and likely never will.

Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, Rangers, Madison Square Garden, Cablevision, Radio City Music Hall, and the WNBA's Liberty, seems to think that former Knicks coach and executive, and before that, a Hall of Fame superstar with the Detroit Pistons, Isaiah Thomas, has still got some skills as an businessman. Seven years after Thomas was dismissed in disgrace after a sexual harassment suit filed by a Knicks employee, "Zeke" is back in New York, this time as team president and co-owner of the Liberty.

Since his playing days ended, Thomas' resume as a coach and/or executive has been the diametric opposite of his days at Indiana University and the Pistons. He ran the Knicks into the ground, and, as noted above, Dolan was forced to cut him when Anucha Browne Sanders filed suit, citing a hostile working environment. As if it's changed since then, given the man-child that Dolan is as an owner, and it hasn't. Thomas flopped as a college coach, too, at Florida International. While there, Dolan tried to bring Thomas back into the Knicks fold as a "consultant". The NBA would have none of that, and Thomas found himself floundering. I think he lasted maybe 2-3 years at FIU.

The calls for Dolan to sell the team are only going to get louder as WNBA season begins. He doesn't care about his paying customers. His sports teams are just playthings to him, and his general message to his critics, basically, is "screw you".

Adam Silver, your move.

Sticking with the WNBA, the league is under fire for not disciplining Brittney Griner after she and her partner were involved in a domestic dispute a couple of weeks back. Griner, out of Baylor, has already agreed to counseling, which puts her one up on the league suits. She admitted she was wrong, and is willing to take the necessary penalties. Had this been in the NBA, even with a marginal player, Silver wouldn't have hesitated to act, but the WNBA is still investigating?


One online commentator on Yahoo! claims the WNBA is trying to protect its brand and image. Gee, that sounds familiar, doesn't it? Of course. However, we're already past that stage, and the league needs to get with the program.

It was just announced that the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots may not have been completely honest about Deflate-gate. Gee, there's a shocker right there. Investigator Ted Wells' report implicates two Patriots employees, both of whom have been with the team since before Bob Kraft bought the team, in the scandal that tainted the Pats' latest title run. Some commentators online are already calling for the Pats to be stripped of this latest Super Bowl. QB Tom "Crybaby" Brady has also been implicated, meaning that when he was pressed for a comment about the scandal, he essentially lied. No amount of Velveeta cheese is going to save Kraft's bacon this time.

Where I have a problem is that the findings were announced nearly a week after the NFL Draft, and that, friends, was on purpose. Again, it was to protect the image of the league on one of its marquee dates. Commissioner Roger Goodell didn't want the league's media partners peppering him with questions during the 3-day draft. Those same online wags are calling for the draft picks already used this year to be taken from the Patriots. That won't happen. Next year? Different story.

Should it surprise anyone that they did have a fall guy or two already available to be handed up? Of course. The report, though, exonerates Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, but in order to truly send a message to the rest of the league and its fan base, Goodell cannot let this pass. It's time to drop the hammer on the Patriots, just like he did with New Orleans a few years ago. The crime is different, but if New England gets a mere slap on the wrist again, the complaints will next be about double standards, especially considering Goodell's already cozy relationship with Captain Cheesehead (Kraft).

This all being said, James Dolan and the WNBA officials get Dunce Caps this week. For now, we won't pile on the Pats until punishment is meted out.

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