Film director and New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee appeared on ESPN's First Take on Thursday and said team governor James Dolan tests his support.
"Mr. Dolan does not make it easy for me to be a Knicks fan," he said.
That came in response to the Knicks' tepid public statement regarding the protests condemning systemic racism and police brutality that are happening around the world.
A leaked June 1 memo—sent from Dolan to the organization before the team made its public statement—defended the organization's silence following the May 25 killing of 46-year-old black man George Floyd in police custody and the ongoing protests that followed:
Pablo S. Torre @PabloTorre
I'm told that Knicks players and employees are furious that the team hasn't made a public statement about George Floyd. And I just obtained the e-mail that owner Jim Dolan sent to MSG employees today defending the organization's decision to stay silent: https://t.co/xG1BA7tV5V
In a follow-up email to the organization June 2 obtained by Malika Andrews of ESPN, Dolan tried to clarify his position. That email read in part:
"Yesterday, I made a sincere attempt to provide my perspective on a very difficult issue, one that has no easy answers. 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."
The damage was done, however, and Dolan has been slammed around the sporting world for his handling of the situation:
Ian Begley @IanBegley
Caron Butler was asked on @AlexKennedyNBA's podcast about NYK owner James Dolan deciding not to release a statement in the wake of the killing of George Floyd: "This is not a business thing. This is a humane thing. And I think that he made a bad decision not speaking up." More: https://t.co/CAMtECcwPb
It hasn't helped Dolan's cause that he's had public disputes with Lee, Knicks legend Charles Oakley and even the team's fans in Madison Square Garden, hurting his reputation with many people in the basketball community. Or that the team has had just three winning seasons in the past 19 years.
Nonetheless, Lee said he won't give up on the Knicks just yet.
"My love for the orange and blue overrides everything else," he said, before adding the caveat: "To a point!"