New York Knicks owner James Dolan tests positive for coronavirus, in self-isolation

Dolan is the first owner of a major US professional sports team to go public with a COVID-19 diagnosis. He joins a number of NBA players in testing positive for the virus


                            New York Knicks owner James Dolan tests positive for coronavirus, in self-isolation
James Dolan (Getty Images)
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James Dolan, the owner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) team, New York Knicks, has tested positive for coronavirus, the team announced on Saturday. Dolan serves as the executive chairman and CEO of The Madison Square Garden Company and executive chairman of MSG Networks.

As the companies' chairman, Dolan, 64, oversees all operations within the company and also supervises day-to-day operations of its professional sports teams, the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and New York Liberty, as well as their regional sports networks.

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The official Twitter account for New York Knicks Public Relations wrote, "The Madison Square Garden Company Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James 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."

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Dolan is the first owner of a major US professional sports team to go public with a COVID-19 diagnosis. He joins a number of NBA players in testing positive for the virus. The NBA suspended its season earlier this month when it disclosed that a Utah Jazz player had been diagnosed. Many players have tested positive since then, including Brooklyn Nets player Kevin Durant.

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No Knicks player has tested positive for the virus. According to the club, none of the Knicks players had symptoms and thus were not tested under CDC guidelines.

Earlier on Saturday, Dolan and Madison Square Garden had established a relief fund to provide financial assistance to employees while also committing to paying qualified venue employees through at least May 3, according to the New York Post

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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. Another $300,000 was contributed by the MSG management team with the expectation that the fund will grow with contributions from the Rangers and Knicks.

The fund was 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.

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New York has been the hotspot for the pandemic in the United States. The national death toll from the coronavirus outbreak crossed 2,000 on Saturday. More than 120,000 cases have been reported in the US. 

The most number of deaths have been reported from New York state where 672 people are reported to have died as a result of the virus. New York is followed by Washington, New Jersey and Louisiana. 

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While President Donald Trump considered imposing a quarantine on the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, he later said it will not be necessary. Instead, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel advisory asking residents of the three states to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days, effective immediately.

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The advisory does not apply to people who work for "critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply, the CDC said in a statement.