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.
And judging from the reaction online, it wasn't exactly well received.
Sports Illustrated host Robin Lundberg talked with life long Knicks fan and host of "Say Less with Kaz" Kazeem Famuyide and Howard Megdal of All Knicks about the team's statement and how it may have been the last straw for some fans.
Read the full video transcript:
Robin Lundberg: The New York Knicks were criticized for not releasing a statement following the death of George Floyd, and then they were criticized when they finally did because the statement did not mention Floyd, Black Lives Matter or police. For more, I'm joined by my buddy Kaz of "Say Less With Kaz" from Whistle Sports and Howard Megdal of All Knicks. Kaz, I want to start with you because you're a fan and this team has metaphorically kind of slapped you in the face many times over the years. I think that's fair to say. How did you receive what they had to say?
Kaz: You know, I feel like there comes times when you're a fan or times where you support something where they kind of leave tentpoles on why you're a fan and why you're not a fan. And you know, certain memories that kind of stick out in your head about why you support this team. Right now, we're living in a time that we're never gonna forget. And hopefully, this is the start of something a little bit more revolutionary that goes beyond sports, that goes beyond winning championships in teams like that. And I'm a lifelong Knicks fan. And the reason why I'm a lifelong Knicks fan is because most of my great memories are tied in to the sports team and supporting my home team. And there comes a time where you always got to reassess that. You got to kind of look at yourself and be like, OK, well, now I'm in my thirties. Why do I root for this team? Why do I continue to give my voice and my money and, you know, just my sanity to root for a team like this. And over and over again, the Knicks organization and specifically James Dolan has given me reasons to not support them. But you almost feel like as a New Yorker, your loyalty lies in going down with the ship. It's kind of like the Chicago Cubs thing that, you know, yeah, they're terrible now, but there's going to that one time that they pull it off and it's going to be all worth it. But now, I just don't think it's worth it anymore. I feel like over and over again, until the New York Knicks sell the team to another owner, James Dolan specifically has shown you where his loyalties lie. And, you know, now's not the time to criticize. "Well, we didn't want to upset some people. And, you know, certain, I think Pablo Torre leaked a internal email that pretty much said, like hey we don't wanna rock the boat too much because, you know, there's both sides here. I'm like, no, there's no both sides here. There's no both sides here. So the fact that they they took this long to respond and when they did, it was the most vanilla, most nondescript. And you've done so many lyrical gymnastics to not say Black Lives Matter and not mentioned George Floyd, not mentioned 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 where you know, that this is who they are, this is who they are at this point, and you feel more for the people that work in that building. I know there's great people in that building. I know there's great young players with with minds for themselves that speak for themselves. And I feel for those guys who can't say what they want to say, and that hurts me. But, you know, after seeing that reaction and non-reaction that they went for the past two weeks before saying anything, it's done. I'm done with them. I can't. I can't morally, in my heart of hearts, condone what they stand for anymore.
Robin Lundberg: And you mentioned as a New Yorker, and it seems to be in stark contrast with the way the Nets have handled it with the assemblage in front of Barclays Center right now. Now, Howard, you know, if there were people defending the Knicks, they would say, take a look at some of the hiring practices they've had in the past. They have hired black coaches, black executives. What what do you think is the reasoning behind why the Knicks did what they did? Because you could also point the donations to James Dolan has made.
Howard Megdal: Well, what Kaz said is really powerful. And of course, it speaks to a larger question that Knicks change wrestled with for the past two decades, which comes down to do the emotional ties you have to this team overcome what logic tells you you should do as it relates to the team. And when you're striking a balance of how often to show up at Madison Square Garden, and how much to care about the New York Knicks, and whether that changes in light of what was obviously too little, too late for so many people as they evaluated the ways the Knicks have simply not been willing to talk about Black Lives Matter in a way that the country has come to embrace as a clear majority position. I think may ultimately hurt their bottom line. But it also, again, strikes a line in the sand as far as this is where James Dolan was willing to go. This is how far he was willing to go, and I think the answer is to why James Dolan does things is always complicated. They don't necessarily follow a linear path. They don't necessarily follow today for what he did yesterday. And so ultimately, I wouldn't want to get 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 the even the NBA has done.
Robin Lundberg: And, you know, some of the people who don't realize how many people they're actually hurting with what they're saying or what they are not saying. And obviously it's much more serious than basketball. But it's amazing that the Knicks aren't going to play a game for like nine months and are still able to catch an L in the midst of all this.
Howard Megdal: The silence of moderates. It's not something that's been tenable this time around.
Robin Lundberg: Definitely not. Howard, Kaz, appreciate your time, as always.