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James Dolan clarifies that Knicks oppose racism in follow-up email to employees

Jack Baer
Writer

It took less than 24 hours for New York Knicks owner James Dolan to clarify that his team opposes racism.

One of the NBA’s least popular owners sent a second email in as many days to team employees addressing the death of George Floyd in police custody and subsequent protests, according to ESPN. After going to great lengths to avoid taking a stand on the issue, Dolan clarified his position.

From ESPN:

"Yesterday, I made a sincere attempt to provide my perspective on a very difficult issue, one that has no easy answers," Dolan wrote in Tuesday's email, which was obtained by ESPN. "I know how important this topic is to so many, and I do not want there to be any confusion about where I as an individual, or we as a company stand. So let me be clear: we vehemently condemn and reject racism against anyone, period."

Despite the clarification, Dolan’s team still has not sent out a statement. The Knicks are one of only a few NBA teams to have not done so.

The closest thing to a statement the Knicks had sent out was a #BlackoutTuesday post.

Dolan had sent out an email on Monday addressing the team’s silence, saying that the organization was not qualified to hold an opinion on social matters. The email was sent around the time it was reported some Knicks players and employees were “furious” at the inaction.

The first email:

“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, via ESPN. “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.”

Such a stance where even a condemnation of racism was too controversial for Dolan’s liking was met with predictable anger and disappointment by fans. Knicks superfan Spike Lee reportedly said he wasn’t surprised by the silence.

Meanwhile, several Knicks players have been outspoken on social media, and at least one has attended a protest.

James Dolan has kept his team mostly silent on the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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