By Jared Max
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Six weeks to the day since I predicted here that a fan-protest campaign would get rerouted from the Jets’ complex to Madison Square Garden, my vision is nearing fruition.
December 30, I wrote, “Between now and the end of April, James Dolan will become Woody Johnson — the owner of a New York-area sports franchise who will be unable to deny his fan base’s disgust. … Rex and Idzik may be the headline today, but, tomorrow the airplane banner will start flying over Madison Square Garden.”
The same group of fans who created the website FireJohnIdzik.com and purchased billboard space near MetLife Stadium to advertise its disgust with Jets management has launched a plan that targets Knicks owner James Dolan. A website called Knicks4Sale.com has been created in hopes of inspiring Dolan to sell the Knicks … and buy the Nets. The banner atop the homepage reads, “From the guys who brought you FIREJOHNIDZIK.COM.” The menu bar features a link to donate — to help raise $20,000 to plaster a billboard near Madison Square Garden that calls for Dolan to sell the team.
Another protest. Oy!
Knicks4Sale.com lists three primary reasons that Dolan should relinquish rule: Awful personnel, incompetent management and terrible coaching.
A die-hard fan of the Knicks and Jets, Jason Koeppel told ESPN, “We’re sick of having Dolan around. We’re sick of his meddling. He’s an embarrassment. And it’s embarrassing to us to read the email that he sent to a fan, so we just felt like it was time to embarrass him.”
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This sounds a Seinfeld episode when Jerry was asked by a store clerk why he was returning a jacket, and he responded, “For spite.”
I sense the same tactics here that inspired me to write a story titled, “Jets Owner Can’t Be Swayed By Fire Idzik Bullies.” My thoughts today are the same as eight weeks ago: “Spending one’s energy in effort to ruin another’s existence is far from an honorable act. … Threatening others through public denigration in attempt to get one’s way is essentially, bullying. Succeeding in disruption is no badge of honor.”
While I tried to argue against the Fire John Idzik guys, I have to wonder if they were inspired by my column. On December 18, I suggested here that they had chosen the wrong Jets target: “Wouldn’t it make more sense to fly a banner over Jets practice that reads, ‘Woody, Please Sell The Team.’ Or (for those who prefer wit): ‘No More Tears, Mr. Johnson. We’re All Cried Out.’ ”
I saw this latest chapter of fan protest coming, but I thought the airplane banner would make its way to MSG, calling for the firing of Knicks coach Derek Fisher — not the owner. While I’m happy that the guys are now going after the root of a problem, I disagree with the route they have chosen.
Seinfeld wasn’t allowed to return his jacket for spite. No campaign that calls for progress should be taken seriously when the motivation behind it is to publicly embarrass someone or something.
While some say actions speak louder than words, I believe that actions speak and words do not. If you want to send a message to Dolan, don’t attend Knicks games. Don’t subscribe to his cable TV service. Convince as many Knicks fans to do the same.
But by stating that the goal here is to embarrass the Knicks owner, this protest campaign has embarrassed itself and denigrated its own voice.MORE NEWS: Eagles Remain Undefeated In Their History Against Jets, Score On First 7 Possessions In Easy Win
Jared Max is a multi-award winning sportscaster. He hosted a No. 1 rated New York City sports talk show, “Maxed Out” — in addition to previously serving as longtime Sports Director at WCBS 880, where he currently anchors weekend sports. Follow and communicate with Jared on Twitter @jared_max.