There certainly is a lot of noise coming from Knick fans this month. While a two game win streak and the possibility of Phil Jackson coming to New York in some sort of Front Office capacity has taken the attention away from a bad season, one fan is still trying to draw attention to his suffering through a petition he created that reads like a manifesto against James Dolan.
When I read the petition, which reads like a never-ending scarlet letter to Dolan, I knew right away that this guy was serious about drawing attention to how bad the Knicks were managed. It’s clear he put a lot of effort into it so I wanted to learn more about the person behind this. The fan that created this is Jake Sarachek who is a college student that has been a fan ever since the late 90s. Below are some answers to a few questions I posed to him about his Knicks petition.
What was the final straw in getting you to organize this petition?
Jake Sarachek: Had to be last Sunday, just watching us get so mercilessly beaten down by a Chicago Bulls team playing without what many would have considered to be their two best scorers at the start of the season. I can deal with my teams losing, but to be down 37-16 at the end of the first quarter to a team that is not even considered a serious contender to make let alone win the finals this year is an absolute disgrace. I just cannot take the current Knicks roster with the lack of heart, chemistry, and commitment that they have shown this season, especially considering the direction we all thought we were headed in after last season relative to where we have been for most of the last 15 years.
Has there been any interesting communication from MSG to you regarding this Petition?
JS: I have not heard anything from them yet. I am sure if this whole movement gets as big as I hope it will. For now I have not received any line of communication from them.
What is the goal of this petition?
JS: The goal of this petition is to bring awareness to the NBA and the general public that as fans of the Knicks, we will no longer tolerate the product we are being given and we demand some type of change. We have by far the highest average ticket price in the league, $80 more than that of the Thunder and $50 more than the Heat; two teams with exponentially better products than us. It is not fair to us as New Yorkers and as fans to continue to be expected to pay the dollar that we do to pack the Garden every night, buy overpriced merchandise, and give the team our undying support in exchange for what we are receiving in return. At this point it is clear that nothing will ever change for the Knicks unless someone takes the responsibility to stand up and try to be the catalyst for that change.
For the jaded Knick fans that don’t think James Dolan cares about a petition, why should they still partake in this?
JS: Yeah I completely get where you’re coming from and you have a very valid point. Dolan definitely will not let a petition or any form of protest factor into his decision to sell the team. It is a very profitable money making enterprise and he cares about his money way too much to ever give up anything that would get in the way of adding to it. However it is not Dolan we are trying to get to; it is the NBA as a whole along with the general public. As I say in the petition, the NBA completely relies on its fans to drive its profitability. New York is the biggest market in the NBA, which means it is better for the NBA as a moneymaking enterprise when the New York Knicks are a competitive team. If we the fans, the ones who drive the Knicks profitability speak up with a loud, collective voice and say that we will no longer stand for the way our organization is being run that will resonate very loudly with the league.
Do you think the petition will achieve anything?
JS: Yes I do. We are New Yorkers, we are known for being outspoken and voicing our opinion, and on top of that there are simply more of us than there are of any other city’s inhabitants. I truly believe that if even over 25% of Knicks fans who feel the same way about how James Dolan is running the team unite together to speak up do so instead of just taking the attitude of doing nothing, thinking that we will never be able to make a difference than we can truly make an impact.
Is this the worst Knicks season you ever endured?
JS: Yes most definitely. There have been other ones just as bad performance wise. But this season has the largest disparity between pre-season expectation and actual results of the Dolan era. In retrospect we should have seen it coming given all the poor offseason decisions we made but still, that does not make it any easier to swallow. Adding to all that, pretty much all of the other losing seasons of the Dolan era had rosters that did not look like they were capable of going anywhere so there was no real disappointment when they didn’t, just frustration. This roster on paper looked like it was capable of making real noise in the regular season as well as the Eastern Conference Playoffs. To make things even more disappointing has been the conduct of the players both on and off the court.
Should Melo re-sign with the Knicks?
JS: I would love Melo to re-sign but right now I just don’t see us having the cap flexibility to be able to provide him with the roster he needs to win a championship. We still have A’mare, Bargnani, and Chandler on the books for another year. Of those players the only one who can really contribute championship value for the cap number that they have is Tyson Chandler and I love Tyson but still 13 million is a lot to be paying a big man with no offensive presence at all. On top of that we also have J.R Smith and his ridiculous contract and equally ridiculous basketball IQ on the books for another 3. There are also very few possibilities in terms of who we could bring in from a free agent standpoint this summer.
Is there any way the Knicks can be saved?
JS: Yes. If we were Cleveland or Milwaukee, we would be completely doomed, but the one positive we have going for us is that in spite of everything we are still New York. There is no other market in the country as extraordinary as ours. Nobody is as passionate about their basketball as we are. New York is known for being THE premier basketball city in the THE premier basketball country. We are also the biggest media market with so many lucrative opportunities for players who thrive in our environment and as I am sure someone like Derek Jeter or Eli Manning could attest to, nobody embraces and loves a winner quite like we do in New York. For a star player on a winning team there is no better city to be living and doing it in. This is why we as fans need to take the initiative. The Knicks are reaching a huge turning point in the history of their franchise where they can either continue to their descent into the basement with the way Dolan has been running the team, or they start the climb back up to the apex of basketball superiority.
Currently his petition only has a few dozen signatures, but if you can’t make the upcoming protest and still want to voice your displeasure, you can sign the petition here.