U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

New York Knicks fined $50,000 for barring NY Daily News from press event

Incident Details

USA TODAY Sports/Brad Penner

R.J. Barrett, the No. 3 draft pick for the New York Knicks, was part of a press conference that pointedly excluded the New York Daily News, an outlet with a combative history with the team. The Knicks were fined $50,000 for the exclusion.

— USA TODAY Sports/Brad Penner
June 21, 2019

The National Basketball Association announced that the New York Knicks have been fined $50,000 for denying the New York Daily News reporters access to a press conference on June 21, 2019.

By not allowing the Daily News access to the team’s post-draft press conference when all other credentialed media covering the team were permitted to attend, the NBA determined that the Knicks had violated the league’s rules regarding equal access for media.

“The actions of willful discrimination taken by the New York Knicks against reporters from the New York Daily News are an abridgment of the First Amendment and not befitting a team in the National Basketball Association,” Todd Adams, president of the Associated Press Sports Editors, said in a statement released on June 24.The NBA fined the team later that day.

The New York Post reported in February that the Knicks and the Daily News “have been feuding for more than a decade,” stemming from Knicks owner James Dolan’s perception of bias and “ill will” in the newspaper’s coverage of the team.

The team released a statement responding to the fine, acknowledging they failed to comply with the media policy, citing “an error in interpreting Friday’s announcement as an invite only event.” They pledged to adhere to the rules moving forward.

This incident is the only one to be acknowledged by the NBA with a fine for the organization. However, Daily News beat writer Stefan Bondy was banned from covering Knicks press conferences in December and January, according to the Daily News and the Post, respectively.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].