Knicks explain lack of public comment on George Floyd in email to MSG employees

Stephen A. expresses frustration with Dolan's internal memo (2:08)

Stephen A. Smith is irritated by James Dolan's memo explaining why the Knicks haven't released a public statement on the death of George Floyd. (2:08)

NEW YORK -- An internal email was sent to Madison Square Garden employees Monday addressing the lack of a public statement regarding the outrage after the death of George Floyd.

"We know that some of you have asked about whether our company is going to make a public statement about the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer," Knicks owner Jim Dolan wrote in the email, which was obtained by ESPN. "I want you to know, I realize the importance of this issue. Therefore, I want you to understand our internal position.

"This is a turbulent time in our country. The coronavirus and civil unrest have taken their toll on our way of life. We at Madison Square Garden stand by our values of respect and peaceful workplace. We always will.

"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."

The Knicks and the San Antonio Spurs were the only NBA teams to have not made public statements following Floyd's death as of 8:30 p.m. ET Monday. Several NBA players -- including Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr. -- have participated in the protests that have erupted around the country. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has been a steady voice for social change in recent years, including in a recent interview with The Nation.

"What we say to each other matters," the email said. "How we treat each other matters. And that's what will get us through this difficult time."

Former Knicks great Patrick Ewing, meanwhile, released a statement Monday on Twitter:

The Knicks posted a black screen with the hasghtags #BlackoutTuesday and #NBATogether on Instagram Tuesday, joining the growing movement on social media.

Floyd, who was black, died on May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.