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Joe Tsai again calls for end to racism, equal treatment, this time as lacrosse team owner

Milken Institute 2019 Global Conference Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images

For the third time in nine days, Joe Tsai has publicly called for an end to racism and a renewed effort to promote equal opportunity for the nation’s black population. This time, he spoke as owner of the San Diego Seals of the National LaCrosse League, the indoor or “box” league.

On May 31, Tsai was the lead signatory on a message from BSE Global, the parent company of his New York sports properties including the Nets, stating “Enough is enough.” Then, two days ago, he issued a statement to the Daily News saying that as long as demonstrations remain peaceful, he has no problem with Barclays Center being the focus of so much of New York’s protests against the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Here’s the Seals statement, as tweeted by Tsai. It is directed to the lacrosse community...

Noting lacrosse’s origins as a Native American sport —but also admitting it’s now viewed as “being played by white children from wealthy neighborhoods in the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states, Tsai and his management team said recent events “have motivated us to take an introspective look in an attempt to find answers.”

Tsai, who played lacrosse at Yale, said that he and his team had talked to “players, coaches and employees in our organization and listened to the voices of black lacrosse players who shared heartfelt feelings with us.” He said the discussion had been a “wake-up call.”

The result, he said, is a realization that there is a need for further conversations and “the playing field must be leveled, inaction is no longer an option. We must ALL exercise our voice to fight for tolerance, understanding and human dignity.”

Tsai did not identify any specific initiatives he and the Seals will undertake.

The statement —as well as those earlier in the week— stood in sharp contrast to that of James Dolan’s MSG companies. On Tuesday, MSG became the 30th and final NBA team to take a stand on the killing of Floyd and the subsequent national crisis...

The statement, coming so late and saying so little, was met with near universal criticism. Among other things, the statement caused some Knicks fans to retweet the it with a message that they’re likely to change loyalties and root for the Nets. Here’s a sample...

Prior to the Garden release, many Knick fans had been upset with the way the team had failed to respond to Floyd’s killing, with one leaked email quoting Dolan as saying he felt he had nothing to add to the national debate on race.

“As companies in the business of sports and entertainment, however, we are not any more qualified than anyone else to offer our opinion on social matters,” Dolan wrote.

The Knicks owner then tried to clarify things in another follow-up email to Garden staff. That follow-up was also leaked and obtained by SNY. In it, Dolan attempted to explain that the company’s actions, particularly in hiring, had spoken louder than words. Then, on Tuesday, a week after the Nets and other teams, came the statement that was circulated Tuesday.