It’s hard to give the New York Knicks the benefit of the doubt on this one. Were they on a time limit? Did the public relations department have the day off? While many other organizations have pieced together videos, photo galleries, and well-thought-out statements regarding Black Lives Matter and issues on the current state of affairs, the Knicks issued an empty one Tuesday that didn’t say much.
George Floyd’s death triggers awareness about inequality
Colin Kaepernick‘s kneeling during the 2016 season brought attention to the racial injustices in the country. Whether one agreed with his kneeling during the national anthem or not, the former San Francisco quarterback brought attention to those injustices through his protest. When George Floyd died on May 25 after his neck was being kneeled upon by a white police officer, the topic of racial injustice reached a peak.
Protests were being held throughout the country. Players were speaking out on the issues. While some comments were controversial and some turned personal, the issue was at least being discussed. Many teams put out their own statements, gathering videos from players and putting together heartfelt messages.
The Green Bay Backers, for example, were one of those teams that had their players voice their opinions on the matter. White players and black players came together and the team compiled a video message that lasts nearly two minutes. It was common to see teams putting together these statements.
James Dolan said the Knicks wouldn’t issue a statement
On June 1, New York Knicks owner James Dolan sent an email to Madison Square Garden employees. That email defended the team’s decision to remain quiet on the matter. According to a tweet from ESPN’s Pablo Torre, Knicks players and employees were upset because the team hadn’t said anything about the ongoing situation while most other organizations were speaking out.
In the email, Dolan said he realized the importance of the issue. He also said it was a turbulent time in the country. He said that those working at Madison Square Garden stand by their values as a respectful and peaceful workplace, but they aren’t qualified enough to offer an opinion on the subject.
“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,” Dolan wrote. “What’s important is how we operate. …What we say to each other matters. How we treat each other matters. And that’s what will get us through this difficult time.”
The Knicks release a statement – sort of
Although James Dolan’s plan to stay quiet on the matter of racial injustice wasn’t a good one, he probably should’ve just stuck to it. Instead, after saying the team wasn’t qualified enough to make a statement on it, he clearly showed that was the case.
On Tuesday, the Knicks tweeted a two-sentence message that didn’t really say a whole lot. The effort just wasn’t there. The Knicks, who haven’t performed well on the court in years were now following that off the court as well.
Social media wasn’t taking the Knicks approach well at all with one tweeter saying the Knicks should be defunded.