The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir on the New York Knicks’ clumsy attempts at dealing with the Fourth Estate.
Here’s the drill at Madison Square Garden:
If you have good news, like the coronation of Larry Brown as the Knicks’ coach last year, let all the credentialed members of the news media attend a Garden news conference and fill them with fresh cold cuts from the Carnegie Deli.
¢If you expect to fire Brown but refuse to say anything until you are ready, you have your security forces summon police officers in Greenburgh, N.Y. Reporters wanting to interview Brown are then threatened with arrest if they don’t leave the parking lot of the team’s practice facility.
Then, if you have bad news, like firing Brown and replacing him with Isiah Thomas, first issue a news release (Thursday’s strategy), then invite seven newspaper reporters who regularly cover the Knicks, including The New York Times’; The Associated Press; and your own MSG Network to 2 Penn Plaza (yesterday’s plan), but keep out all other writers and television reporters.
Len Berman, the sports anchor for Channel 4, was displeased at being left out. “By excluding portions of the media,” he said, “it’s telling fans to take a hike, which is what they’ve been doing for years with the teams they’ve put on the floor.”
Berman’s producer complained to the National Basketball Association. Berman added, “I’m not a fan of managed news.”