The Knicks are one of two NBA teams that have not put out a public statement addressing the death of George Floyd and support for the black community in the face of police brutality, and reportedly some players and employees are “furious” about it, according to ESPN.
A source confirmed some Knicks employees — including black staffers — were disappointed the team didn’t furnish a statement like so many other clubs did.
In a company-wide email obtained by The Post, owner James Dolan explained the decision not to issue a statement, writing that he didn’t feel it was the team or the Garden’s place to do so as protests and riots have broken out across the country and in New York City. A video showed Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, who was killed in Minneapolis on May 25 while a white police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. The fired officer, Derek Chauvin, is facing third-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
“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,” Dolan wrote in the email. “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 toll 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.”
The Knicks declined to comment on the decision not to make a statement or whether players or employees were indeed upset about that course of action. One player, point guard Dennis Smith Jr., participated in a protest in Fayetteville, N.C., and several have expressed their views about the incident on social media. The Knicks started the season with a black coach, David Fizdale, and with several black men in prominent front-office roles, including current general manager Scott Perry.
While the Spurs are the other team to not have made an official statement, coach Gregg Popovich did speak out in an interview with The Nation on Sunday in which he addressed racism, police violence, Floyd’s death and the protests. On Monday, Rangers prospect K’Andre Miller spoke up about being the target of hundreds of racial slurs while conducting an online Q&A with fans after signing his NHL contract.
“It’s something that I won’t ever forget,” the 20-year-old black defenseman, the team’s 22nd-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft who signed a three-year, $3.825 million contract with the Rangers on March 16, wrote as part of a statement posted on Twitter.
The Rangers, like the Knicks, haven’t issued a statement about Floyd. They didn’t respond to a request for comment.
— Additional reporting by Marc Berman
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