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Knicks owner James Dolan condemns racism in second email to employees

The New York Knicks, owned by James Dolan (pictured), were one of two NBA teams to not put out a statement following the death of George Floyd. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The New York Knicks, owned by James Dolan (pictured), were one of two NBA teams to not put out a statement following the death of George Floyd. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 2 (UPI) -- New York Knicks owner James Dolan sent a follow-up email to employees Tuesday and "vehemently" condemned racism after receiving widespread criticism for his first memo.

On Monday, Dolan sent an email to staff members stating that the Madison Square Garden Company was "not more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters."

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"Yesterday, I made a sincere attempt to provide my perspective on a very difficult issue, one that has no easy answers," Dolan wrote in Tuesday's email. "I know how important this topic is to so many, and I do not want there to be any confusion about where I as an individual, or we as a company stand.

"So let me be clear: we vehemently condemn and reject racism against anyone, period."

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Most NBA teams have already released public statements condemning racism since the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

The Knicks and the San Antonio Spurs are the only teams in the league to have not put out an official statement, although Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has been a consistent voice for social change in recent years. Popovich recently spoke with The Nation, saying "the system has to change."

In his email Monday, Dolan said that some employees asked about "whether our company was going to make a public statement about the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer." The email was later made public and led to backlash.

"My point yesterday was about actions, and the importance of living your values," Dolan wrote Tuesday. "At Madison Square Garden, we have worked hard to build an environment of inclusion and mutual respect and those are the values we try to live every day.

"Racism is born of ignorance and it's up to each of us to understand the person working beside you is equal without regard to color, or any of the other qualities that make us diverse. And any injustice to one person is an injustice to everyone.

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"This is how we at MSG fight racism. We start with ourselves, and through our actions, we define who we are. That is how we can be an example to the wider world. That was the point of my message yesterday."

The NHL's New York Rangers, also owned by Dolan's Madison Square Garden Company, have yet to release a statement on the death of Floyd or racial injustice.

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