Haters Gonna Hate, Islanders Gonna Lose

“I hear this place is restricted, Wang, so don’t tell ’em you’re Jewish, okay?” –Al Czervik

The reason all conjugations of the word “hate” (hater, hating, haterade, hatin’, Hatty McDaniel) took on such ubiquity in the past decade or so has to do with how much fun hating on other people actually is. It’s the best and it serves as a through line for all human activity that is even remotely pleasurable. Soap operas, reality television, professional wrestling, stamp collecting, the white power movement… all built on a sturdy foundation of hate.

And nowhere is this more apparent than in our nation’s two most popular diversions other than titty bars: business reporting and sports.

This week, a New York Times reporter decided to throw an obscene amount of shade on New York Islanders owner Charles Wang and his legal problems. In the process, he employed an ethnic slur, called Wang a coward, and told the audience that Silky’s mink is made out of 100 percent rat ass….

Charles Wang is the beleaguered owner of the New York Islanders, a hockey team that you probably haven’t thought of in several decades. This week, he was sued by a hedge fund dude and lawyer who accused Wang of reneging on a deal to sell the hockey team:

Wang probably did not expect to be sued by one of those suitors, but that is what happened Monday night when Andrew Barroway, a lawyer who manages hedge funds in Radnor, Pa., accused Wang of reneging on a $420 million deal — reached in March — to sell him the Islanders.

Barroway asked the State Supreme Court to enforce the sale, or, as an alternative, to award him at least $10 million in damages.

Richard Sandomir is a New York Times writer who won’t countenance mediocrity. Here, Wang is compared to archetypal a**hole Donald Sterling:

Wang may or may not be ready to sell. But unsuccessful owners, almost by definition, overstay their welcome. Donald Sterling’s freshness date expired long before he made the racist statements that led to the sale of the Clippers.

Here, Wang’s desire to be like Donald Sterling is laughed at:

On June 10, for instance, Barroway said Wang had told him that he could have received more than $420 million for the team in the wake of Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion bid for the Los Angeles Clippers. And on July 16, the lawsuit said, Wang increased his price for the team to $548 million. Barroway called it extortion.

(Anyone willing to pay $548 million for the Islanders must believe that they won their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup in June, not in 1983, and that they play in their own plush arena.)

Yes, as the Clippers proved, success is the only measuring stick for valuing sports teams.

Sandomir goes on to quote a Columbia law professor who has no problem disparaging all of the wonderful, albeit untrustworthy, people in Wales to make his point:

“Bottom line, Wang has the advantage, but it is not a slam dunk if the evidence indisputably shows that he has welched,” John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School, said in an email. He added, “Barroway might be able to get an injunction against a sale to a third party based on a claim of bad faith.”

Coffee probably thinks welching has its origin in the idea of sour grapes.

But the merits of the case are merely a pretext for hating on Charles Wang with extreme prejudice. Sandomir even entertains a story I guarantee to be apocryphal:

Wang knew little about hockey and made some bizarre decisions, including elevating Garth Snow, a backup goaltender, to general manager, according to Mike Milbury, a former general manager, and wanting to get rid of the team’s scouts. Milbury recalled two years ago that Wang had wanted to try out sumo wrestlers in the crease.

Worked in NES Ice Hockey.

Sandomir goes on to point out that the team has improved under Wang’s watch, but not enough! This is actually more bats**t than the every kid gets a trophy mindset; the idea that every kid really could earn a trophy if they merely did things right. As if athletic endeavor actually wasn’t a zero-sum game in which another competitor is actively trying to beat you with just as much effort and maybe a bit more skill and/or luck. So it goes.

In the comments, vent your spleen about whatever it is that you hate about this post. I know you want to. Cause it’s fun as hell.

Owner’s Refusal to Sell Islanders Draws Questions, and Now a Lawsuit [New York Times]

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