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Internal email explains why Knicks have not made a public statement about protests

James Dolan looks on before an NBA game

James Dolan looks on before an NBA game between the Knicks and the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 29. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

While 28 of the 30 NBA teams issued some form of statement in the wake of the death of George Floyd — and the only other team not to issue one had its coach speak out strongly on the subject — the Knicks remained quiet. 

And the question why apparently was asked within the walls of Madison Square Garden, too, as ESPN obtained a copy of an internal email that set out to explain why the company did not speak out. A source confirmed the email’s contents to Newsday.

The only other team not to issue a statement was the San Antonio Spurs, but coach Gregg Popovich gave an impassioned interview to The Nation magazine.

The email, which came with a subject line, “A message from Jim Dolan,” offered that the company is more interested in actions than words.

The email read: ”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 toll on our way of life. We at Madison Square Garden stand by our values of respect 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 began the season as the only team with an all-African-American leadership group: team president Steve Mills, general manager Scott Perry and coach David Fizdale. Fizdale and Mills were let go during the current season. 

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