The positive tests for the COVID-19 coronavirus keep piling up, and the latest prominent sports figure to receive one is New York Knicks’ owner and Madison Square Garden Company CEO James Dolan. The Knicks’ PR account tweeted that news out Saturday:
The Madison Square Garden Company Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Dolan has tested positive for coronavirus. He has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms. He continues to oversee business operations.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 29, 2020
As some noted, back on March 11, the Knicks were named by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski as the NBA team that didn’t want to take COVID-19 actions (which wound up being first eliminating fans from arenas, then putting the whole league on suspension) until forced to by government.
Several teams were willing to put the games on hiatus, but the rest wanted to move toward eliminating fans from arenas to continue playing games, sources tell ESPN. One team wanted to keep status quo until a governmental/public mandate dictated change: The New York Knicks.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
That didn’t happen, though, with the NBA eventually suspending the entire season on March 12 after Rudy Gobert’s positive test. And to Dolan’s credit, he has since taken some measures to provide for both MSG employees in general and venue employees in particular, as Larry Brooks of The New York Post wrote Saturday:
Madison Square Garden has established a relief fund to provide financial assistance to employees while also committing to paying qualified venue employees through at least May 3, per correspondence sent out Friday night, The Post has confirmed.
The MSG Relief Fund was established with a $1 million donation from the Madison Square Garden company that was matched by a similar contribution from the Dolan Family Foundation. James Dolan is the Garden CEO.
…The fund has been set up to provide direct assistance to employees for a variety of expenses, including health care, rent/mortgage, food and other necessities, while the arena is shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.
MSG employees who averaged at least 20 hours per week over the previous six months will receive pay through May 3, with the possibility that the time frame could be expanded as the situation is monitored.
So Dolan and his company are at least doing some things to help their workers, and that’s notable considering the many shuttered venues MSG operates (the pay here applies to employees from Madison Square Garden, the Garden Theatre, Radio City, the Beacon Theatre, The Forum and two venues in Chicago). As for Dolan’s own battle with the virus, it sounds like he hasn’t experienced too many symptoms so far, and that’s definitely good. But a positive test for COVID-19 is certainly still worrying.
[NY Knicks PR on Twitter]