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Jets Prez Calls Out Dolan And MSG

By Sean M. Deegan
Publisher, Jets Insider.com
June 25th, 2004
Time for the boys at MSG to come clean and tell their real agenda.
Time for the boys at MSG to come clean and tell their real agenda.
In response to the sleazy negative Madsion Square Garden/Cablevison anti-Westside stadium spots on TV and radio under the shell of a supposed grass roots neighborhood coalition, Jets president Jay Cross today challenged MSG President James Dolan to a public debate on the proposed project.

You’ve seen the commercials: “Just say no to a Westside stadium”. Spots on TV and radio presented by an organization called the “New York Association for Better Choices”. If you take a magnifying glass to your TV for a split second you will see that the organization was created and is funded by Cablevison’s Madison Square Garden who object to the project not because they care about New Yorkers but because a stadium down the block might take money out of their pockets. The organization preaches that taxpayer money should not be put into such a project yet MSG doesn’t pay a penny of tax to the city for it’s venue that sits above Penn Station. It’s a prime example of sleaze, greed and hypocrisy at its best. Jets President Jay Cross has taken steps to set the record straight by challenging Dolan to a public debate regarding the project. Cross’ letter was published today in the NY Post.

Courtesy, NY Post
Dear Jim,

I understand you plan to renovate Madison Square Garden. As your future neighbor, the New York Jets fully support you. We believe two world-class facilities in Manhattan would be better than one. If cities like Philadelphia, St. Louis and Houston can support two, so can New York.

Yet it appears you have reservations about the New York Sports and Convention Center. In fact, in just one month your company has spent more than $1 million on a disinformation campaign against this project. You've done this not as Jim Dolan or Cablevision, but under the guise of a contrived coalition — the New York Association for Better Choices.

Isn't it time you and I discussed the merits in public and let New Yorkers judge for themselves?

This would not be the first time we met regarding the sports and convention center. In the fall of 2002, we worked together to develop a new Madison Square Garden on the far West Side, combining an arena and a stadium to host the Knicks, Rangers and Jets in one facility. Your staff and I traveled to Japan to visit the only facility of this kind in the world. When we returned, the Jets offered to share the sports and convention center with a new Garden and let your organization operate it.

In January 2003, you ended our discussions. We respected your decision and told you the Jets planned to forge ahead with a stand-alone sports and convention center. You acknowledged that this facility would not be competitive with the Garden, but complementary. We parted with a firm handshake and your personal pledge of support.

But before long, you objected to an arena within the sports and convention center — the very arena born of our joint venture. Since we never intended to compete with the Garden, we removed the arena component and redesigned the facility. Without the arena component, the center will cater to crowds in excess of 40,000 while the Garden caters to crowds under 20,000 — two different markets.

Despite this concession, word soon surfaced you wanted more. You wanted us to remove the roof to ensure the sports and convention center could never pose a competitive threat to the Garden. Never mind that without a roof, the city and state would lose millions in annual tax revenue, the center would be used only 15 to 20 days a year because it could not host midsize conventions and the city would never attract the Super Bowl or the NCAA Final Four.

Although the Jets require only an open-air stadium to play football, the public rightfully expects much more — a showcase for the best of New York in a state-of-the-art convention and sports center. So, after more than 18 months of fruitless effort and endless compromise, when we realized Cablevision's real intent was to eliminate all threat of competition, we drew the line.

We are proud of the New York Sports and Convention Center. We stand ready to make the largest investment in a facility of its kind ever — $800 million — to realize that vision.

Your barrage of misleading advertisements serves only to undermine a meaningful discussion of the facts.

Let's publicly make our case directly to New Yorkers — as Cablevision and the New York Jets.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours truly,

Jay Cross, President New York Jets

If you are waiting for this debate to actually take place, don’t hold your breath. As the Dolan’s have exhibited to New Yorkers time and time again since they took over the Garden, their specialty is getting their deceptive propaganda out from behind the scenes. Can we ever forget the childlike debacle a few years back when they held the Yankees hostage from NY after the Bombers left MSG to start their own network? They will never agree to a public debate because it would instantly reveal their real agenda and greed. Props to the Jets for exposing the Dolan’s for what they really are in a professional classy way.

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