Knicks GM Scott Perry, part of a Knicks-hosted Zoom symposium on race and sports, encouraged the Black Lives Matter movement to not peter out anytime soon.
“Let’s not allow this to be just a moment in time,’’ Perry said Thursday on an invitation-only discussion with teachers and children regarding racial injustice. “I’ve been around long enough to know that things that have happened in our history before — there’s a temporary outrage, and then boom, things are back to normal. Don’t allow this to be that time. This is a call of duty to action for all young people.”
The Knicks have stepped up recently regarding the raging topic of racial inequality. Perry and former Knicks president Steve Mills became the first African-American top front-office tandem in NBA history before the 2018-19 season. That didn’t prevent owner James Dolan from getting roasted for not immediately releasing a statement on race in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing.
Dolan tried to make amends when he became the 30th and final team to release a statement, but was further condemned in some circles for it being too little, too late.
That led to Thursday’s Knicks symposium to commemorate “Juneteenth’’ (a holiday celebrating the end of slavery) — hosted by team executive Allan Houston. Perry said he’s happy NBA players have protested and spoken. Knicks players and team employees reportedly were “furious’’ over Dolan’s belated response. Sixteen of the 17 Knicks players are African-American.
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The Nets’ Kyrie Irving, meanwhile, has led a revolt to try and have players consider bagging the NBA restart so as not to distract from the protests.
“I think their words have to be followed by corresponding appropriate action,’’ Perry said. “The impact that words and actions of an athlete can have, not only for the people in their presence, but the millions watching them on television or on their cell phones and latched onto every word, action and emotion that these guys and gals share. And so I think really being in tuned to that, understanding that responsibility, and continuing to reach out to their communities in the way they best see themselves best impact the community.”