Most dysfunctional sports team: New York Knicks or Washington Redskins?
via AP

Most dysfunctional sports team: New York Knicks or Washington Redskins?

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No two sports teams are more maligned than the New York Knicks and Washington Redskins. The Knicks morphed from perennial NBA contender to laughingstock, run by a universally loathed owner who had security physically eject a beloved former player on national television. The Redskins have only two playoff wins under owner Dan Snyder's 18-year reign, but almost two decades of drama. They're currently embroiled in a public spat with their franchise quarterback and former GM. Whose fans have it worst?

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Much like the Redskins, the Knicks can chart their demise back to the turn of the century. Once a proud NBA franchise, the New York Knicks have become something of a sideshow since despised owner James Dolan purchased the team nearly 17 years ago. They've been inconsistent and underwhelming ever since.

Dolan notoriously hates criticism, but has routinely undermined the front office and coaching staff throughout his tenure. Just when it looks like the Knicks might be operating like a stable, well-run organization... Dolan has swooped in and undermined operations, but then avoids any media criticism about his meddling. This culminated in the public ejection of former Knicks legend Charles Oakley, who has been critical of Dolan in the past, in full view of fans and on national television back in February.

For many Knicks fans, it was proof the team had finally hit rock bottom.

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Teams that are in a near constant state of dysfunction often have one thing in commona terrible owner. Dolan is a universally loathed figured, referred to as both "classless" and "the worst owner in the NBA." He has unnecessarily driven a wedge between the team and fans, and his mismanagement of the franchise has led to years of futility. It's painful to be a Knicks fan and to pay market prices to watch a substandard product every home game. But that's the life of Knicks fans under Dolan's ownership and it doesn't look to change anytime soon.

If you were born in or around New York in the year 2000, the polar opposite is true: Futility. Lottery futility. Find-another-team futility.
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All of that can be traced to owner James Dolan, who essentially began calling the shots for the franchise in 1999. There’s no point in breaking it down in granular fashion – from Allan Houston’s terrible contract, to Larry “Next Town” Brown, to Isiah Thomas … I could go on for days, but I’ll leave you with this: When the NBA commish blasts your management (as David Stern did in 2007), you know things are bad. It’s been a decade since David Stern made his famous remarks, and nothing’s changed.

For Redskins fans, the Knicks saga is familiar. After three Super Bowl championships in the '80s and early '90s, the franchise took a turn for the worst when Dan Snyder purchased the team back in 1999. Since then, the team has gone through eight head coaches in 18 years and has become a carousel for journeyman quarterbacks, busted draft picks and overpaid free agents.

Just when fans thought the team may have turned a corner, after Snyder relinquished team control to the front office—things spiraled out of control. The team alienated franchise quarterback Kirk Cousins by failing to negotiate in good faith and may have pushed him to another team altogether. Simultaneously, the team abruptly dismissed GM Scott McCloughan weeks ago, and came up with a bunch of bizarre excuses to explain his notable absences from major league events like the NFL Combine. Nothing about this is normal.

It reached a boiling point this past week, as fans promised to dump their season tickets and a handful even organized a protest at the team's training facility.

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Like Dolan, Redskins owner Dan Snyder is known as an affluent meddler who seemingly invites unnecessary drama. He consistently finds new and innovative ways to fleece a devout fanbase. The team was so popular that it used to have a waiting list for season ticket holders, but now—after 17 years of rule under "the most hated owner" in the NFL—fans have all but abandoned the team. Tickets to home games have gone for less than $5 on the resale market. Things may have reached the point of no return for some fans.

Dan Snyder doesn’t really want to win. He would rather be the controlling figure in a poisonous, culture-of-fear organization than a marginal figure in a successful and happy one. In the nearly two decades that Snyder has owned Washington’s football team, there has been just one constant — him.
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