Knicks owner James Dolan has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a tweet from the team. Dolan is “experiencing little to no symptoms” of the virus, the statement adds. He is in self-isolation and continues to oversee business operations of the Madison Square Garden Company.
A source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post that Dolan is with his family in the Hamptons and learned of his test results earlier this week.
Ten NBA players have tested positive for the coronavirus over the past 17 days, but Dolan is the first high-level executive known to have contracted it. The Knicks have avoided public comment on the virus since it began affecting the league, but their players have likely not been tested and have been permitted to return to their homes, according to Steve Popper of Newsday (Twitter link).
Dolan, 64, has been a controversial figure in New York as the Knicks have fallen on hard times under his ownership. His image has also been damaged by public disputes with beloved figures in the Garden such as Charles Oakley and Spike Lee.
The news about Dolan comes a day after Madison Square Garden set up a relief fund that will offer financial assistance to employees and will provide them with a salary through at least May 3. The MSG Relief Fund was announced in a letter sent to employees Friday night, writes Larry Brooks of The New York Post.
The fund was created with a $1MM donation from the Madison Square Garden Company and a matching donation from the Dolan Family Foundation. The MSG management team put in another $300K and contributions are expected from the Knicks and the NHL’s Rangers.
“I knew they’d do the right thing and they did,” said union president James Claffey. “It’s a very generous offer. It wasn’t negotiated. They just gave it, here’s what they wanted to do for our stage crews and other entertainment workers. We didn’t request it. And they’re taking care equally well of the other unions.”