Knicks' James Dolan 'Vehemently' Condemns Racism in 2nd Memo to MSG Employees

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2020

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 07:  (3rd L-R) Executive chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company and executive chairman of MSG Networks James L. Dolan, model Marcela Braga and Tao Group partner Jason Strauss attend a game between the New York Knicks and the Phoenix Suns during the 2019 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 7, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

New York Knicks owner James Dolan sent a memo to employees Tuesday, saying he "vehemently" condemns racism after receiving national criticism for a poorly received first email on Monday.

"Yesterday, I made a sincere attempt to provide my perspective on a very difficult issue, one that has no easy answers," Tuesday's memo read in part, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv. "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. It is against every value we hold dear."

None of the teams owned by the Madison Square Garden Company, which includes the Knicks and New York Rangers, have released a statement on the death of George Floyd or racial injustice. Dolan sent a memo to MSG employees Monday saying the organization is "not qualified" to make 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. ... 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 respect and peaceful workplace. We always will," Dolan wrote in the memo, per Malika Andrews of ESPN. "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 Knicks players and employees are "furious" about the team's lack of statement since Floyd was killed.

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Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested on third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges Friday after days of protest in Minneapolis. Protests demanding an end to police violence and racial injustice have since gone nationwide and stretched several days, including in New York City.

In the past, the Knicks have offered regular public statements on matters like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving's free agency, what entrance Spike Lee uses at Madison Square Garden and Dolan having security remove a fan who told him to sell the team.

Every other NBA team besides the Knicks and San Antonio Spurs has made an official statement about the death of Floyd and racial injustice, though the Spurs posted for Blackout Tuesday and head coach Gregg Popovich publicly denounced Floyd's killing and commented on racism and racial injustice to Dave Zirin of The Nation.

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