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NBA

James Dolan defends Knicks’ silence on death of George Floyd

James L. Dolan attends a game between the Knicks and Suns during the 2019 NBA Summer League last July.
James L. Dolan attends a game between the Knicks and Suns during the 2019 NBA Summer League last July.Ethan Miller/Photographer: Ethan Miller/Getty

As of Monday night, the Knicks were one of two NBA teams that had not issued a statement regarding the protests following the death of George Floyd.

Nowwe know why.

In an e-mail sent to all Madison Square Garden employees on Monday that was obtained by ESPN’s Pablo Torre, Knicks owner James Dolan wrote, “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. “I want you to know, I realize the importance of this issue. Therefore, I want you to understand our internal position.

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“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 while in police custody in Minneapolis, and video of his death quickly went viral, sparking outrage and protests over the last week. The officer who was seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck — Derek Chauvin — has been arrested.

As of Monday, the only team other than the Knicks that had yet to issue a statement was the Spurs. (The statement from the Celtics can be read here.) However, on Monday, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich lashed into President Trump in an interview with The Nation.

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“It’s unbelievable,” said Popovich. “If Trump had a brain, even if it was 99 percent cynical, he would come out and say something to unify people. But he doesn’t care about bringing people together. Even now. That’s how deranged he is. It’s all about him. It’s all about what benefits him personally. It’s never about the greater good. And that’s all he’s ever been.”


Christopher Price can be reached at christopher.price@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at cpriceglobe.