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KNICKS NO LONGER GOING TO (SOUTH) CAROLINA IN THEIR MIND
Published February 23, 2000
The Knicks announced yesterday that they are "pulling" their preseason training camp out of Charleston, SC, "because of the state's continued policy of flying the Confederate flag over the state Capitol building," according to Steve Popper of the N.Y. TIMES. The team has trained at the College of Charleston for the past eight years. Knicks Exec VP/Franchise Operations Steve Mills said that the decision was reached "after a number of players voiced their objections" to traveling to Charleston. Mills: "We're making a decision that we think is in the best interests of our team. ... We obviously don't want to put our players in a situation that they're uncomfortable with." Popper writes the Knicks are "the first professional sports team to take such an action." The USATF, which will be holding the U.S. women's marathon trials this Saturday in Columbia, SC, issued a statement last week "in support of removal of the flag. At the same time, some track and field athletes have contemplated a protest during Saturday's trials" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/23). In N.Y., Frank Isola writes that two Knicks, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that "nearly all of the players wanted to continue going" to SC, but "feared that the black community would criticize the decision" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/23). In N.Y., Marc Berman notes that 13 of the 14 players on the Knicks' roster are African-American. Knicks G Allan Houston, on the flag controversy: "Do I feel strongly about it? Yeah, I do." Berman writes that the Knicks "signed a four-year deal in October to continue training in Charleston." However, Charleston AD Jerry Baker said that the Knicks pay the college a flat fee of $4,000 a year to "train at its gym and the contract could easily be bought out." Berman adds that the Knicks are "leaving open the possibility of returning" to Charleston for camp in October "if the Confederate flag ... is removed" (N.Y. POST, 2/23). Mills: "This change of venue only affects this year's playoff training camp. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation." Baker: "We are sympathetic to the Knicks' position. They are a great partner for us, and we will continue to work with them in any manner we can" (POST & COURIER, 2/23).