Knicks players are reportedly furious the team hasn’t made a public statement about George Floyd.
One week ago, George Floyd was murdered in a senseless act of police brutality, and since then, protests have broken out in cities across the United States. Peaceful protests have been met with more police violence, as have looters and rioters.
In these times of social unrest, national brands, companies, organizations and sports teams around the country have voiced their support for equality, freedom, unity and the Black Lives Matter movement. Many of these social media posts have come across as tone deaf or been motivated by self-interest. Some of them are simply to fit in and save face, and still others have released statements that were sorely lacking.
For the most part though, even those somewhat hollow posts condemning racism and injustice in this country are better than what the New York Knicks are doing.
According to ESPN’s Pablo Torre, New York Knicks players and employees are “furious” over the team’s lack of a public statement on Floyd and the situation unfolding across the country.
Rather than buck up and release even a tepid statement about the importance of staying together, treating each other equally, yadda yadda yadda, owner James Dolan has somehow made it worse with an email he sent to Madison Square Garden employees in regards to the Knicks’ lack of a statement:
“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 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.”
That stance is nowhere near good enough, especially in what was meant to remain a private email to his employees that was thankfully exposed in broad daylight.
We could start by mentioning Dolan’s personal friendship with President Donald Trump. We could also remind people that for an owner devoted to a “respectful and peaceful workplace,” Dolan sure has kicked out an awful lot of people from Knicks games, including former player and New York fan favorite Charles Oakley.
But instead, we’ll just stick with the basics: feigning ignorance is no excuses for silence. “We are not more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters” is extremely true in Dolan’s case, but it’s also an incredibly cheap cop-out.
This is the owner of a predominantly black NBA team in a predominantly black league telling his employees how much he loves and respects his black employees … without lifting a finger to learn more, understand their plight or even make a simple statement condemning the actions of those police officers and voicing his support for those employees. It’s the literal least he could do, and it speaks volumes he’s been unwilling to do so.
Then again, we probably shouldn’t expect much more from Dolan anyway.