This morning in our roundup, we reported that the minor dust-up between the Knicks and longtime superfan Spike Lee had been resolved.
It appears that was a premature declaration.
The Knicks released a statement, and a pair of photos, to further support their claim that Spike Lee has no right to enter at the spot he's entered at Madison Square Garden for several decades.
“The idea that Spike Lee is a victim because we have repeatedly asked him to not use our employee entrance and instead use a dedicated VIP entrance – which is used by every other celebrity who enters The Garden – is laughable," the Knicks said in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon. "It’s disappointing that Spike would create this false controversy to perpetuate drama. He is welcome to come to The Garden anytime via the VIP or general entrance; just not through our employee entrance, which is what he and Jim agreed to last night when they shook hands.”
This followed an appearance on ESPN this morning by Lee in which he claimed he was being harassed by the Knicks, and specifically, owner James Dolan.
The root of this question is similar to the issue with Charles Oakley, really. The Knicks have every right to tell Spike Lee where and how he can enter Madison Square Garden. The question is more: why do this? What does it cost the Knicks to allow Lee to enter the way he always has?
The Knicks make a big deal of their celebrity fans. There's no bigger celebrity fan, in terms of profile, length of tenure, loyalty to the team than Spike Lee. It doesn't even really matter who's right here. The customer is always right, and Spike Lee is a customer.
There's plenty of aspects here to unpack. Even justifiable decisions by the Knicks will experience undue scrutiny thanks to past decisions. A different communication on this might well have short-circuited the issue, though the Knicks insist this is not the first time they have spoken to Lee about it.
But a lot of it comes down to a simple question: should the same rules that apply to everybody else apply to Spike Lee?
And before you answer, think of this: why is that true, and what do the Knicks gain by doing it?