New York Knicks owner James Dolan on Tuesday addressed his Saturday confrontation with a fan, calling it an “ambush,” and revealing that the heckling spectator has been banned from Madison Square Garden.
Dolan, who was told by the fan to “sell the team,” discussed the incident on “The Michael Kay Show” on 98.7 ESPN New York.
Regarding the confrontation, he said, “It’s pretty easy. It appears that this gentleman and his friends planned to do this. That just before the game they cleared their profiles out. We have video which shows them moving from one side of the arena to the other and pointing to me to set this ambush up and they did. Then as soon as they were done with it, it was immediately sold to TMZ. But look, not for nothing, but I shouldn’t have taken the bait.”
The heckling began in the waning minutes of the Knicks’ 102-94 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday as Dolan was walking toward the tunnel.
A TMZ video shows Dolan hearing the fan and stopping to call him closer.
“You think I should sell the team?” Dolan begins. “You wanna not come to any more games?” then adding that the comment was rude.
Dolan eventually signaled to hold the man for security. According to TMZ, security and police questioned the man before asking him to leave the arena.
On Tuesday, Dolan said he had originally planned to invite the fan back and let him meet the players while trying to show him that his team was moving in the right direction. He said that changed when it “became clear that the whole thing was planned.”
“The ban is only coming from the fact that we now have learned that he planned it,” Dolan said. “They were stalking me. You can’t do that in Madison Square Garden. You are not allowed to stalk the owner and then confront him like that.”
Dolan also said, despite the fact that the Knicks have a league-worst 13-54 record this season, “For the record, I am not selling the team and I am not quitting.”
—Field Level Media