The New York Knicks were slow to respond to the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests that swept the world.
The Knicks issued a two-sentence statement, on June 9: "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."
A number of Black executives, players, agents and others around the league who spoke to Bleacher Report found the Knicks' response disconcerting.
"If you're going to have a diverse employment force, then in this situation you've got to represent them and speak out against this," said a Black team executive who has worked in the league for more than 20 years. "Otherwise, you're sending a message to them that you're ambivalent about it. Now you allow yourself to be questioned. And by the time you do come out and say it, then people doubt your sincerity."
"How hard is it to put out a statement?" said one agent from a high-profile firm. "What's going to be really interesting is the players that truly matter, the ones that are the upper echelon of the league, when they are free agents, how are they going to look at this?"
The same agent also said his clients were "flabbergasted" with the silence from the Knicks on the Black Lives Matter movement.
At least one key rotation player told team officials he "definitely wasn't happy with the Knicks" remaining silent on Floyd, according to a source who does business with the team. "I know there are others upset about it," he said.
Some have defended Dolan's record on race by noting how often he has hired Black executives from Isiah Thomas and Anucha Browne Sanders to Steve Mills, Scott Perry and Craig Robinson.
"He's always done right by Black people," said a former Garden employee who is Black. "Does it make up for the poor response? Not necessarily."