Knicks players and staff reportedly furious after team declines to issue a statement on George Floyd's death because they are not 'any more qualified than anyone else'

sdavis@businessinsider.com (Scott Davis)
James Dolan.

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  • New York Knicks owner James Dolan wrote an email to employees explaining why the organization has not released a public statement about the death of George Floyd or nationwide protests.
  • The Knicks are one of two teams that haven't issued a statement on the matter.
  • Dolan wrote in his email that as a company "in the business of sports and entertainment" they are not "any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters."
  • According to ESPN's Pablo Torre, Knicks players and staff are "furious" that the team hasn't issued a statement; Dolan addressed in his email that some members have asked if the team would comment on the issue.
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New York Knicks owner James Dolan sent an email to Madison Square Garden staff on Monday explaining why the organization has not commented on George Floyd's death or nationwide "Black Lives Matter" protests, according to ESPN's Malika Andrews.

To date, the Knicks are one of two NBA teams that have not released a statement on Floyd's death or the unrest that has followed — the San Antonio Spurs are the other.

According to Andrews, via a leaked email, Dolan wrote to staff, "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."

ESPN's Pablo Torre reported that Knicks players and staff are "furious" that the team hasn't released a statement.

In his email, Dolan acknowledged that some staff members have asked whether the team was going to comment. Dolan said he wanted staff to "understand our internal position," saying that the coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest has disrupted the way of life for many.

"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."

Insider could not independently verify the leaked email. The Knicks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to Andrews, Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. is one of several NBA players to participate in protests following Floyd's death.

"Our companies are committed to upholding our values, which include creating a respectful workplace for all, and that will never change," Dolan's email said.

"What we say to each other matters. How we treat each other matters. And that's what will get us through this difficult time."

As Stefan Bondy of The Daily News noted, Dolan is a supporter of President Donald Trump, having donated $300,000 to Trump's campaign in 2016 and $125,000 to his re-election campaign. Dolan told ESPN that he got married at Trump's resort in Mar-a-Lago. Trump has publicly condemned the protests, stating in an address on Monday that he would call for military intervention if states did not get the protests under control.

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