NBA fan booted from game over 'offensive' t-shirt

Yahoo Sports Staff
·3-min read
A New York Knicks fan was ejected from a recent NBA game at Madison Square Garden for wearing a shirt which said 'Ban Dolan' - referring to Knicks owner James Dolan. Pictures: Twitter/Getty Images
A New York Knicks fan was ejected from a recent NBA game at Madison Square Garden for wearing a shirt which said 'Ban Dolan' - referring to Knicks owner James Dolan. Pictures: Twitter/Getty Images

It's been awhile since we've heard from New York Knicks and Madison Square Garden owner James Dolan, but with fans making their way back into MSG in limited numbers, it was only a matter of time before his legendary thin skin would land in the news again.

A Knicks fan attending the game against the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night was apparently booted from the arena just five minutes into the game. 

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His crime? Wearing a T-shirt that said "Ban Dolan." 

The fan posted a video of the interaction between him and MSG security, which was polite and dignified, but still resulted in him getting kicked out of a basketball game.

Thanks to the video, we actually got to hear MSG security explain why a "Ban Dolan" shirt isn't allowed. Because it's private arena, they get to decide what constitutes "offensive information."

"In this arena," the security guy said, the "Ban Dolan" shirt "would be offensive information."

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The fan was given the choice to wear another shirt — which would be provided for free — over his "Ban Dolan" shirt, or leave. He ended up deciding to leave. 

We don't know if Dolan himself asked for the guy to be removed, or if security has a standing order to remove anyone who says or displays a message against their dear leader.

Regardless, it is a private arena, which means the owner gets to decide the rules — even if the rules are stupid and ill defined. 

New York Knicks fan ejected over 'Ban Dolan' shirt

A look at the MSG FAQ and code of conduct doesn't spell out what "offensive" means in that context, and it doesn't mention clothing at all. 

Though to be fair, adding a "fans shall not disparage the owner in any way" clause to the code of conduct would be ridiculous, and it would rob Dolan of his favourite activity: ejecting fans who think he's a terrible team owner.

The ejected fan made an important point on Twitter: You can love your team and hate the owner at the same time.

He also said he was treated well the entire time, but wished he'd been warned about his shirt first and given the opportunity to wear his coat over it.

"As an OG Knicks fan, it's difficult not to critique ownership that doesn't even respect our living legends," the fan wrote. 

"We are fortunate to live where free speech is championed & protected. Rooting for a team & hating ownership are not mutually exclusive. Particularly when done politely.

"Staff & I were cordial to one another the entire time. Bar staff was dope too. No one ever got belligerent with anyone. What for?! 

"But to not get a warning that politely refusing to put on a random shirt would result in ejection is wild OD. Let me at least wear my coat fam."

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