David Stern Has James Dolan's Back Too

Illustration for article titled David Stern Has James Dolan's Back Too

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has already announced his support for Knicks owner James Dolan, who responded to a letter from an angry 72-year-old fan by telling him he should "try sobriety" and start rooting for the Nets. Silver said that was just Dolan being "a consummate New Yorker," which, as a New Yorker, makes me feel depressed and insulted. Now former commish David Stern weighs in.


Stern, speaking at an NYU lecture series last night, was asked if he would have disciplined Dolan if he were still in charge. Stern was incredulous.

"Would I discipline James Dolan for that email?" Stern asked. "Why would I do that?"

"We have our own brand of due process," Stern later added. "In terms of all the things that people should be held accountable for … if you are looking for every email that gets sent to a fan who sends a nasty email, I'm sorry … that's almost beneath the commissioner's duties."

He's right, of course. Responding to a pissy email with a pissy email is a god-given human right. Nothing Dolan did requires more than a reminder from the league office reading, hey, maybe don't do that shit again. But throw the fans a bone. Send some kind of signal that you understand their frustrations with Dolan, even as Dolan himself obviously can't sympathize, or recognize his own failings.

Knicks fans just want someone in power to reassure them that they deserve better. But, then, maybe they don't? You want to put pressure on Dolan, and get NBA executives' attention? Stop going to games, stop putting money in Dolan's pocket. Because as long as the Knicks are crazy profitable, nobody has incentive to change a damn thing.

Instead, you get Silver and Stern—who moved to Jersey when he was a kid, by the way—making jokes about New Yorkers.

"There have been some serious issues in our time from Magic (Johnson's HIV) to Ron Artest to you name it, we've dealt with it," Stern said. "This doesn't raise … this is just New York at its best, which is let's make something out of nothing."