THE WORST ORGANIZATION IN THE WORLD IS TODAY'S NEW YORK KNICKS OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION...WORSE, EVEN, THAN JFNA (although parallels will be noted)
It's not just that the New York Knicks had the second worst record in the National Basketball Association in 2015 and that the team has been miserable for years and years; it is the choices that the Knicks ownership has made culminating in the decision to rehire one Isiah Thomas, a disgraced former Knicks' coach and executive, as the CEO of the Knicks sister team, the Liberty in the Women's NBA, perhaps the worst single decision in organized sports since Jerry Krause, then the General Manager of the Chicago Bulls, decided to "remake the franchise" after 6 championships and destroyed that team in the process. Why is this decision so bad? Well...
In 2007, a jury found Thomas guilty of sexually harassing a "team executive in the crudest of terms" after she complained of the harassment the team's owner, the imperious James Dolan, "personally insisted on firing her." The Knicks and Thomas were assessed an $11,000,000 judgment. One year later -- yes, it took one year -- Thomas was fired. And, now, this sexual harasser is being brought back by the same owner to run a women's professional basketball team. WTF???
Of course, the Knicks owner is engaged in a private business and, as he has made clear, he can do whatever he wants. And, he has, dismissing criticism as the work of "alcoholics," among other things. If he wants to throw his money away, well, there has yet to be a public trusteeship suggested for a private company. On the other hand, the leaders of JFNA have thrown away our communal dollars, recklessly and without regard for the organization's present or future, if there is a future. Christine Brennan, the wonderful and insightful sportswriter for USA Today, in a detailed commentary following the Dolan decision to rehire Thomas wrote: "Yes, a sexual harasser has just become President of a WNBA team. I have to say that is a sentence I never thought I would write." And I have written a parallel: "One who never knew or was involved in the Jewish federations has just become President of JFNA. I have to say that is a sentence I never thought I would write."
And, there the parallels to and differences from the feckless JFNA -- the New York Knicks of Jewish organizational life -- begin.
- Both the Knicks and JFNA have hired leaders, one in Thomas, the other in Silverman, who have proved to be incapable of achieving the organization's goals -- Thomas, as an historically great player and then as one-time Coach and then as General Manager, at least spoke the language unique to basketball; Silverman as the unknowing CEO who still fails to speak the truth about federations which he still, after 5+ years, fails to understand;
- Both the Knicks and JFNA have Chairs, Dolan for the Knicks and Siegal for JFNA, whose lack of judgment in retaining these guys evidences a disdain for their organizations, their fans/constituencies and disdain for success itself;
- The Knicks rehired Thomas, according to most, because Dolan and he are close friends; Siegal renewed Jerry Silverman as JFNA CEO because...well, just because -- and it's none of your business.
So, there you have it -- the New York Knicks and the Jewish Federations of North America, twinned in failure, paired in patheticism and the most feckless of the feckless.