A simmering feud between the New York Knicks and The New York Daily News has culminated in the team receiving a $50,000 fine from the N.B.A. after a reporter for the newspaper was not allowed to attend a news conference last week.
The league said in a statement Monday that the Knicks had violated league rules regarding equal access for the news media and that the team had now pledged to abide by them.
The Knicks held a news conference Friday for their newest draft picks, R.J. Barrett and Ignas Brazdeikis, but The Daily News was not allowed in, even though the publication’s writers are credentialed by the team and league.
The Knicks acknowledged in a statement that they broke the rules but attributed the lapse to a misinterpretation of the policy on when credentialed reporters must be let in.
The dispute between the Knicks and the newspaper goes back years. The team believes The Daily News, known for its cheeky headlines and tone, is gratuitously negative about the team, which completed the season with the worst record in the league.
James Dolan, the Knicks owner, specifically mentioned The Daily News while on the radio in March. “There are certain journalists, right, that, you know, actually wish ill will toward the team,” Dolan said. “They don’t want to see the team win. They don’t want to see the team be successful.”
The Daily News has stood by its coverage, which it has called a reflection of the team’s record in recent years.
“The Knicks were allowed for too long to restrict access to credentialed reporters,’’ said Kyle Wagner, the editor in charge of sports coverage. “We’re pleased that the N.B.A. addressed the issue, hopefully for the final time, and contented that the Knicks have finally found someone to take their money this summer.”
The N.B.A.’s rules guarantee all credentialed news media access to coaches and players at specifically proscribed times. On game days, for instance, locker rooms must be open for at least 30 minutes before the game, and head coaches must be available within 10 minutes of the conclusion of the game. The Daily News cannot be barred from these opportunities.
Still, the tension likely will continue because league rules are less clear on other ways teams control access, such as email lists for team news and other forums in which a coach or player might speak to reporters invited at the discretion of team executives.
Pressure had been ratcheting up on the team to allow The Daily News access, including statements issued in recent days by the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors.
“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 M. Adams, president of APSE and the sports editor at the State Journal-Register in Illinois, said in a statement Monday.
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