As it turns out, an NBA team can’t just ban a media outlet from press conferences just because an outlet says mean things about the owner. The New York Knicks did just that last week, and the league has come down on them for it.
According to NBA reporter Rick Bonnell, the NBA has fined the Knicks $50,000 for barring the New York Daily News from last Friday’s press conference. It’s widely believed that Knicks owner James Dolan ordered the ban as a result of the publication being critical of him in the past.
But banning an outlet from attending a media event goes against league policy. The NBA reportedly said in a statement that the Knicks have agreed to abide by the policy moving forward.
NBA fines Knicks $50,000 for barring the New York Daily News from a press conference Friday, a violation of league media policy. NBA statement says Knicks say they will abide by league media policy going forward.
— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) June 24, 2019
While the organization deserved the fine for violating the league’s policy, fans of the team were not amused that it was the team being fined and not the man at the top: James Dolan.
Fans have long been critical of the executive chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company, and feel that he should have been personally punished for what happened to the New York Daily News.
The 50K fine is nothing to The Knicks. The real change has to happen from the top
— Jammel Cutler (@JammelCutler) June 24, 2019
The NYDN doesn’t deserve this rescue. The #Knicks don’t deserve this distraction at a CRITICAL moment. Dolan deserves the fine, the blame, and the IRE of all Knicks fans. Mainstream media: Please please remember Dolan and Knicks organization are NOT the same https://t.co/BIS8JY7O4K
— Q (@qleftblank) June 24, 2019
Obviously $50,000 is nothing to the Garden, but I wonder if the symbolism of the fine will have some effect on the Knicks’ stance regarding these pressers. https://t.co/338uj61vkX
— Jonathan Macri (@JCMacriNBA) June 24, 2019
Even with the acquisition of Duke megastar R.J. Barrett in the NBA Draft, the team is not in a great position to compete next season without a big-name free agent.
Failing that, the heat on James Dolan might only rise.
Not that he would do anything about it, of course.
Update: The Knicks have issued an official statement on the NBA’s decision:
“The Knicks acknowledge that we did not comply with the NBA’s media policy, and made an error in interpreting Friday’s announcement as an invite only event. As we do throughout the year, we have and will continue to provide access to credentialed media as per the League’s policy.”