Knicks' parent company, Madison Square Garden, issues statement weeks after George Floyd's killing

Why the Knicks reversed course and decided to release statement (1:24)

Malika Andrews reports that there are some people around the NBA who are questioning why the Knicks chose to put out a public statement on social injustice just days after saying they were not qualified to speak on such issues. (1:24)

NEW YORK -- The Madison Square Garden Co. has issued a statement, eight days after New York Knicks owner James Dolan sent an email to the staff explaining why the company would not publicly comment on the outrage that followed George Floyd's death.

On Tuesday, the Knicks' team account tweeted a statement from the MSG sports and entertainment companies, saying, "Every one of us has a role to play in creating a more just and equal society, where there is no racism, bigotry, violence or hate. We stand with all who act for positive change."

The statement comes the same day as Floyd's funeral in Houston.

Floyd, who was black, died May 25 in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Since then, protests have taken place across the country and several government officials have made commitments to adjust local laws. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will reallocate some New York Police Department funding to social and youth services.

Neither Tuesday's statement from MSG nor the social media accounts addresses what "positive change" the statement is referring to. The statement, which is not attributed to a specific person, was shared by the Rangers, Knicks, Rockettes and MSG official social media accounts.

Dolan faced backlash after his initial June 1 internal email that said, in part, "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."

Less than 24 hours after that email was made public, Dolan sent out another internal memo on June 2.

"My point yesterday was about actions, and the importance of living your values," Dolan's June 2 email continued. "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 your 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."

The June 2 email said that they "vehemently condemn and reject racism against anyone, period" but did not commit to making a public statement. The Knicks' position became murkier when the team's official Instagram joined the social media movement #BlackOutTuesday on June 2. #BlackOutTuesday became an attempt to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

On behalf of the Knicks, Madison Square Garden and Dolan, a company spokesperson declined ESPN's request for comment on the change of course.