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Knicks owner James Dolan defends not releasing statement after George Floyd's death, widespread protests

Countless players, coaches, teams and organizations across the sports world have released statements in recent days following the death of George Floyd and the massive protests that have ensued in cities across the country.

The New York Knicks, however, have not — something that has reportedly been a growing point of frustration among players and team employees.

Owner James Dolan, though, is standing by that decision to stay quiet.

Dolan, in an email sent to all Madison Square Garden employees on Monday, per ESPN’s Pablo Torre, said that as a company, “we are not any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters.”

“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.”

Floyd was killed on Monday in police custody and video of his arrest — which showed a white Minneapolis police officer with his knee in Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd yelled out, “I can’t breathe” — quickly went viral. That officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been fired, arrested and is facing third-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

Protests and riots have broken out in countless cities across the country since his death and continued on Monday night.

The Knicks, along with the San Antonio Spurs, are the only two teams in the NBA to have not released a formal statement as of Monday night. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, however, addressed the topic, President Donald Trump and more in a detailed interview on Sunday — and didn’t hold back.

So while most of the sports world was quick to condemn Floyd’s killing and the larger issue surrounding his death, Dolan sounds like he is going to stay quiet.

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