Knicks' Statement May Have Cost Them Fans

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The New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden released a statement Tuesday after they received some criticism for not doing so in the days following George Floyd's killing.

This was preceded by an internal memo leaking where owner James Dolan attempted to explain why the team had not said anything prior. 

And judging from the reaction online, it wasn't exactly well received. The statement itself was vague and did not mention George Floyd, Black Lives Matter or policing in any way.

I spoke with lifelong Knicks fan, and host of "Say Less with Kaz," Kazeem Famuyide and Howard Megdal of All Knicks about the reaction from the fan base. Kaz himself was none too pleased calling it the last straw for him. 

"There's no both sides here. So the fact that they took this long to respond and when they did, it was the most vanilla, most nondescript, and went through so many lyrical gymnastics to not say Black Lives Matter and not mention George Floyd, not mention the victims, to not talk about exactly why this is so important in America's history. I, along with many other people, have had it. Like, this was the straw that broke the camel's back. Because at the end of the day, I always said, I'm a black man before anything. I love the Knicks. I've always loved the Knicks. But this is definitely to me and to a lot of fans like me, the straw that broke the camel's back...I'm done with them. I can't. I can't morally, in my heart of hearts, condone what they stand for anymore."

James Dolan's relationship with Knicks fans has been a complicated one for a while now, with "Sell the team" chants emanating from the Garden before play was stopped because of the product on the floor. But for some fans like Kaz this clearly means more. 

Some have speculated Dolan's previous political donations might be a reason for the silence and then lack of a strong statement, but others have pointed to the Knicks' track record of hiring black front-office executives as a counter to the backlash. 

I asked Knicks reporter Howard Megdal what may have been behind the team's thinking and while he wasn't sure about the reasoning, he did say, "I wouldn't want to speculate as to why he did what he did. What's very clear is in the eyes of an overwhelming majority, he didn't do nearly enough. And the Knicks have been out of step with what even the NBA has done."

Regardless of what you think about how the Knicks handled this, it is on brand for the team to find a way to lose, despite likely going nearly nine months between games.