It’s one of the hardest questions to answer for a New York sports fan: Which son of privilege has done a worse job running a franchise and would be worse to work for — James Dolan or Jeff Wilpon?
Even just a couple of months ago, before hell broke loose, Michael Powell of The New York Times wrote a piece about Knicks and Mets fans wishing for the teams to be sold.
“James Dolan of the Knicks and the Wilpon family, owners of the Mets, have reminded us that even great bags of money cannot paper over bad temperament and cluelessness,” the article read.
Anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention this century to these orange-and-blue messes would trust neither Dolan nor Wilpon to make a peanut butter sandwich without setting the house on fire.
But now the people of New York are going to put their lives in these men’s hands.
Not Dolan and Wilpon alone, but also such luminaries as Yankees president Randy Levine, a person so massively awful he was considered a candidate to be Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, and Buffalo Sabres CEO Kim Pegula, most recently seen laying off 21 employees and furloughing 104, while stressing “the importance of her family maintaining its lifestyle.”
All of these nightmare figures from the world of New York sports, as well as Islanders owner Jon Ledecky (congratulations to him for not being awful on any level nearly approaching his peers), were named Tuesday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board.”
It’s a 116-person board, so the hellscape sports executives only represent a small part of it, but the question needs to be asked once again of why anyone making life-and-death decisions is contacting Wilpon at all, let alone seeking his counsel.
There are other sports connections, too, like Jeremy Jacobs Jr., the co-CEO of stadium concessionaire Delaware North and the alternate governor for the Boston Bruins under his father, the inimitable Jeremy Jacobs Sr.
There’s also Merryl Tisch, the chair of the State University of New York, who belongs on the committee in that capacity. Her record as a public education official and charter-school booster raises some red flags — but she happens to be married to Loews CEO James Tisch, the first cousin of Giants chairman Jonathan Tisch.
Before you say, “Well, that covers every pro sports team in the state of New York,” it doesn’t. An emissary from the Brooklyn Nets is apparently nowhere to be found on Cuomo’s massive advisory board.
It’s hard as a regular citizen to parse a list of 116 mostly unfamiliar names. When you know that these are the people the governor is going to trust to help get your state back on track, it’s not exactly encouraging when the names that you do know belong to some of the people you would least want making decisions about dumb sports things, let alone about issues that will determine whether New York returns to regular life safely or if there’s going to be a deadly second wave of a plague.