The New York Knicks—owned by the Trump-friendly James Dolan, who spent over $500,000 to get the real estate mogul elected president—are one of two NBA teams (the San Antonio Spurs being the other) that have yet to release a statement on the killing of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man, by a white Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for nine excruciating minutes until he went limp.
And on Monday night, ESPN reporter Pablo Torre obtained a letter Dolan sent to his Madison Square Garden employees defending the decision to not release a statement:
We know that some of you have asked about whether our company is going to make a public statement about the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. I want you to know, I realize the importance of this issue. Therefore, I want you to understand our internal position. This is a turbulent time in our country. The coronavirus and civil unrest have taken their told on our way of life. We at Madison Square Garden stand by our values of a respectful and peaceful workplace. We always will.
As companies in the business of sports and entertainment, however, we are not any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters. What’s important is how we operate. Our companies are committed to upholding our values, which include creating a respectful workplace for all, and that will never change. What we say to each other matters. How we treat each other matters. And that’s what will get us through this difficult time.
Torre further reported that Knicks players and staffers are “furious” that the team has yet to release a statement on the Floyd killing. It seemed rather hypocritical too, given that Dolan wrote a song about the death of Trayvon Martin.
Meanwhile, New York Times reporter Sopan Deb said that Spike Lee, the biggest Knicks fan around, texted he was “not surprised” by Dolan’s decision to not release a statement on Floyd’s killing.
As for the “respectful and peaceful workplace” at MSG, well, that is a highly dubious claim as well.