Former NBA small forward Caron Butler has gone after Knicks owner James Dolan over how he has handled the ongoing upheaval over George Floyd's death:
“It’s like every opportunity or chance that Mr. Dolan get a chance to do something right, it’s almost like he goes out of his way to do the opposite,’’ Butler said in an interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. “That probably works in a business space when you disturb the market. But this is not a business space. This is a humane thing. He made a bad decision not keeping up on it. I don’t know what he did privately, but you should take a stance on what’s right or wrong.”
Butler went on to say he thinks players will question how hard they want to try for the Knicks organization because of Dolan's actions:
“I know a lot of players are like, ‘How can I run through a brick wall for this organization and understand and know my rights probably don’t matter to this individual,’” Butler said. “It’s an eye opener to a lot of people.
“It’s going to be different going forward. If you didn’t stand on the side of rights and justice you will be looked at differently.”
“At end of the day, your legacy is extremely important,” Butler continued. “People remember you from your good deeds and what you did for mankind. To say nothing in one of the biggest moments I think in our lifetime that we’ve been able to experience and rally around and have a hand in and be part of, to be absence in that moment, that tells you a lot.”
Last week, following a lengthy silence, Dolan finally made his stance known in regard to Floyd's death and the subsequent protests in a leaked internal email to employees. Dolan stated in the email he understands the severity of the issue, but claimed “we are not any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters.”
This non-response drew criticism from many outlets, resulting in a subsequent internal email further condemning racism. In spite of these attempts, which were both supposed to stay in house, many think it's not enough.
Dolan has been embroiled in controversies for the past few years, from calls for him to sell the Knicks due to lack of success on the court to his battle with Knicks superfan and filmmaker Spike Lee.
Butler, a current analyst for the Washington Wizards, has been very outspoken on the protests since they began, sharing his thoughts and experiences in a powerful message in The Players' Tribune.