James Dolan defends banning fan, but admits he 'shouldn't have taken the bait'

Chris Cwik

New York Knicks owner James Dolan knows he let his frustrations get the best of him Saturday night. After being confronted by a fan during a loss, Dolan was caught on video banning that fan from future Knicks games.

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While Dolan defended that decision on ESPN New York’s Michael Kay Show on Tuesday, he also admitted he “shouldn’t have taken the bait” and engaged with the fan in the first place.

During the Knicks’ 102-94 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, Dolan was confronted by a fan who told Dolan to sell the team. Upon hearing that, Dolan asked the fan if he wanted to keep coming to Knicks games. After another brief exchange, Dolan told the fan to “enjoy watching [the games] on TV.” The fan was later kicked out of the game.

Dolan stood by that decision Tuesday, saying he believes he was ambushed by the fan as he was leaving the court. Dolan said he has video of the fan traveling a couple sections to set up and heckle him. Dolan justified his decision by saying people cannot come to Madison Square Garden looking for a confrontation. That is why the fan was banned for life.

Knicks owner James Dolan confronted a fan after Saturday’s game. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Knicks owner James Dolan confronted a fan after Saturday’s game. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

It didn’t have to be that way. Dolan admitted he was planning to invite the fan back for the next game and have the fan meet with some players. But once Dolan discovered everything was planned out by the fan, he decided to make the ban permanent. Dolan pointed to the speed at which the video was posted to TMZ as a reason to believe the fans had premeditated the ambush.

Dolan explained that he was frustrated that the team was losing, which caused him to respond to the fan. Dolan said he didn’t like being told to “quit.” That’s what set him off.

While the fan may have succeeded in getting under Dolan’s skin, he’ll have to wait before he gets his ultimate wish. Dolan made another thing crystal clear during Tuesday’s interview: He’s not selling the Knicks!

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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