Madison Square Garden has barred its personnel and businesses from working with WFAN and its parent company, Entercom, in response to sharp criticism of Garden executive chairman James Dolan by host Maggie Gray in August.
As a result, Knicks and Rangers players and coaches and MSG announcers cannot appear on the station until further notice. The New York Post first reported the story on Monday.
Kimberly Kerns, an MSG spokeswoman, said in a statement, “Entercom aired a hate-filled rant directed towards MSG, its employees and its Executive Chairman in August of this year. They chose to take no action to remedy this until the start of this season.
“Only after learning they would not receive special access to players and coaches did they elect to offer an insincere half-hearted apology. We wish them no ill will. However, we decline to carry on a business relationship. We will continue to afford Entercom league-mandated access only.”
Entercom declined to comment.
The conflict began in August, when Gray severely criticized Dolan, referencing his friendship with movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of multiple sexual assaults, after Dolan’s band released a song called, “I Should’ve Known.” Dolan said it referenced not just Weinstein but other powerful men who have abused women.
Gray apologized on the air last week for the personal, “name-calling” nature of her critique, during which she called Dolan a “vile piece of trash,” among many other things, but not for her larger point.
When a caller brought up the ban on the air on Monday, Gray said, “Obviously, I’m disappointed that my words got conveyed that way by the Garden, that they were characterized as hate-filled. But what I’m hoping is everyone out there, everyone, just understand the context in which I went after Dolan and why I said the things that I said, the context of what’s happening now, what’s going on. It’s much bigger than sports . . . Let’s not get hung up on a word or two that I may have said. Let’s keep the entire thing in context."
Shortly after coming on the air on Monday, Mike Francesa did an 18-minute monologue on the subject, saying he does not need access to Garden personnel to do his show, and in the process criticizing both Gray and the Garden.
“This whole thing is just something that has gotten out of control,” he said.
Knicks and Rangers games appear on ESPN New York, but at times Garden personnel — including Dolan — have appeared on WFAN.