Draymond Green pointed to the racist undertones of the fan-player dynamic when discussing an Oklahoma City heckler.
Now, the Warriors forward is pointing out the racist undertones of the owner-player dynamic. His example: James Dolan-Charles Oakley.
Oakley played several years for the Knicks while the Dolan family owned the team. Oakley was an enforcer who brought immense physicality to the game — helping New York win. Eventually, the Knicks traded him, his contract expired, and he moved on into retirement.
Since, Oakley has publicly criticized Dolan, leading up to Oakley’s violent ejection from Madison Square Garden last week. Dolan and the Knicks responded with a series of statements Oakley said hurt him deeply.
“You doing it for me, It’s all good,” Green said. “You doing it against me … you speaking out against my organization, it’s not good anymore? That’s a slave mentality. A slave master mentality. That’s ridiculous. It was all fine and dandy when he was laying people out, taking fines and all this stuff for your organization. But now all of a sudden when he says something that he feels, it’s a problem.”
This is not calling Dolan racist.
This is a comment within a reality: Nearly all NBA owners are white, and most NBA players are black.
Of course players are highly paid. Nobody is comparing their wages to slaves’. It’s Dolan’s mentality that Green is exploring.
Oakley stopped working for the Knicks nearly two decades ago. But Dolan still attempts to control Oakley through vindictive statements. In Oakley’s telling, Dolan went even further by having Oakley ejected for no just reason. (Dolan said Oakley was belligerent, causing the ejection.) Either way, there appears to be no real compassion for someone whose forcefulness helped make Dolan money. The Knicks got what they could from Oakley, and now that’s he’s not spouting the company line, they disparage him
Dolan doesn’t have to like Oakley’s criticism of him. But at a certain point, Dolan should also realizes how his harsh jabs at a former former employee — who excelled at the job — fit into the greater context.