The New York Knicks’ media-relations team picked favorites over the weekend.
Three papers–The Times, the Post and Newsday--got the scoop that Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan informed Knicks head coach Isiah Thomas that his job was safe. All three papers attributed the news to the same source ("a high-ranking Garden official"), and included the detail that Mr. Dolan compared Mr. Thomas to once-embattled New York Rangers general manager and coach Glenn Sather.
The other two papers that cover the team as a beat, the Daily News and the Bergen Record, missed out. The News‘ Frank Isola, not exactly the Garden’s favorite beat-guy (as The Observer documented) vented on his blog about the snub. He fingered Garden press chief Barry Watkins as the source–not an improbable guess–and speculated on the reason for the Garden’s decision:
So confident is Dolan that Thomas is his man that he wanted to spread the word to three media outlets. The rest of the press corps – and the Knicks fans who read and listen to their reports – were basically told to buzz off.
Watkins didn’t even leak it to the team’s own network, which tells you that besides running a dysfunctional organization, Dolan doesn’t want to be held accountable if he changes his mind next week. That’s some operation they’re running over there.
The Knicks just lost a home-and-home to the lowly 76ers. "Fire Isiah!" chants rained down at the Garden on Saturday–and things are only getting bloodier between the beat guys.