It’s time once again for our seemingly bimonthly segment: “Who’s James Dolan Beefing With Now?” This time it is lawyer Mike Hamersky, who happened to catch the MSG owner walking to his limo and took the opportunity to yell out, “Sell the team, Jim!” Dolan then allegedly got into the fan’s face, calling him an asshole.
Dolan later responded to interview requests by Deadspin by informing the site that, yes, he did indeed call the fan an asshole.
Obviously he was pissed that the guy yelled at him; nobody likes being yelled at. A shouting match between a crappy owner and a loudmouth New York fan should come as no surprise. But then the story took a particularly Dolan-y twist. Per Deadspin:
Hamersky says Dolan then accused him of being intoxicated, and the owner instructed his security detail to make sure that he not be allowed in the building.
“He had an open bottle of beer and smelled of alcohol, and I told him he wasn’t going in,” Dolan tells me. Dolan adds that his friend and Eagles manager Irving Azoff, who was accompanying the owner during the fracas, agreed that the heckler reeked of booze.
Hamersky denies being intoxicated, saying that he’d come to the Garden straight from instructing a Fordham law class, and wouldn’t have had time to get drunk before the game even if the spirit was willing.
This story has everything we’ve come to associate with the Knicks owner: dissatisfied fans, a connection to the Eagles, but especially that accusation that a James Dolan critic was drunk.
If that sounds familiar, it was the same accusation he lobbed at Knicks legend Charles Oakley after the retired big man was kicked out of MSG during a game. In this instance Dolan went even farther, insinuating on the Michael Kay Show that Oakley might have a general problem with alcoholism (emphasis mine):
“We clearly did not — we weren’t perfect here, and I think Charles never should have made it to his seats. And that’s on us, and we’re doing things to remedy that and make sure that never happens again. … I can’t say for sure. We know he said on TV that he was drinking beforehand. We heard statements from police that he appeared to be impaired. Our staff clearly could see that.
“To me, Charles has got a problem. We’ve said it before; he’s his own worst problem. People have to understand that. He has a problem with anger. He’s both physically and verbally abusive. He may have a problem with alcohol.”
And if that sounded familiar, it is the same accusation he used in a reply to a longtime Knicks fan who sent him a critical email (emphasis mine):
Why would anybody write such a hateful letter. I am.just guessing but ill bet your life is a mess and you are a hateful mess. What have you done that anyone would consider positive or nice. I am betting nothing. In fact ill bet you are negative force in everyone who comes in contact with you. You most likely have made your family miserable. Alcoholic maybe. I just celebrated my 21 year anniversary of sobriety. You should try it.
So to recap, those fans (or ex-players) who criticize the Knicks owner are invariably drunk, and may also be alcoholics. Those who criticize him via email? Alcoholics, maybe.
This article exists for a reason, people. Alcoholism is a serious problem; it’s not just an accusation you should lob around at people who dislike the way you run your basketball team. Clearly James Dolan is treating the issue this with the sincerity it deserves. He can’t help it if all these people who disagree with him just so happen to have issues with alcohol. Maybe.