- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Thirty-five to 40 Knicks fans congregated outside of Madison Square Garden on Wednesday evening to protest what they say is owner James Dolan’s poor handling of the team.
“I’m happy about Phil [Jackson] being brought in [as president], but I want to show James Dolan that we're still going to hold him accountable, hold his feet to the fire as an owner and we want him to allow Phil to do his thing. That's why I'm here, to support my Knicks and fellow Knicks fans,” said Nkosi DuBois Anderson, a Knicks fan from Manhattan.
The fan group that organized the protest, KF4L (Knicks Fans For Life), cites issues with Dolan, the lack of communication from team president/GM Steve Mills and the team's ties to Creative Artists Agency as its main sources of contention.
The protest was announced earlier this month with the Knicks in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. The team has since won seven straight. The protest also lost some momentum in recent days when the Knicks came to terms with Jackson. Jackson was formally introduced to the public in a news conference at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
“It's a good turnout, people have good energy,” Anderson said. “I wish it was more people. I think a day earlier would have changed things.”
The fans were largely quiet during the demonstration. They cheered once a group of cameramen and videographers asked them to gather and pose for pictures. But other than that, they were pretty silent during one 30-minute stretch.
One fan held a sign that read, “Can’t Trust Dolan.”
Chase Johnson said he came to the protest to show solidarity with “all the Knicks fans that are depressed after the games.”
“That's me,” Johnson said. “I'm not going out after the game with my friends, I'm sitting in my room brooding.”
Like others in the crowd, Johnson said he’d like to see Dolan allow Jackson to handle all basketball decisions for the Knicks from here on out.
“I'm not a huge Dolan basher. I understand he wants to win. He says he wants to win whenever he talks,” Johnson said. “Obviously, he spends money, which isn't the problem. But he hasn't really been hands off with players and personnel people. We all hope he lets Phil Jackson do his job, but we know that Dolan isn't going to like something and he's going to swoop in and overturn decisions. I’m not out here to get him to sell the team ... but don't let him get involved in basketball decisions.”
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