The decision makes the Knicks an exception in a league where players and coaches have called for change on social media and joined protests.
Leadership from every N.B.A. team — in some way, shape or form — has weighed in on the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. Every team, that is, except the Knicks.
And the franchise’s owner, James L. Dolan, made clear on Monday that no such statement was coming.
“We at Madison Square Garden stand by our values of a respectful and peaceful workplace. We always will,” Dolan wrote in an email to employees, which was obtained by ESPN. “As companies in the business of sports and entertainment, we are not any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters.”
Dolan’s response was in stark contrast to that of other teams in the league and that of several players who have joined the protests roiling the nation on a nightly basis. The N.B.A. is the rare sports league that has outwardly encouraged players for years to be socially conscious on certain issues: Police brutality is one of them. One of the Knicks’ own players, point guard Dennis Smith Jr., participated in protests in Fayetteville, N.C., over the weekend.
Dolan’s email came a day after Commissioner Adam Silver wrote a letter to league employees on the matter. “I am heartened,” he wrote, “by the many members of the N.B.A. and W.N.B.A. family — players, coaches, legends, team owners and executives at all levels — speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change.”
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