Did the New York Knicks cover up information about an injured Jeremy Lin to mislead ticket buyers?
Frank Isola, a New York Daily News beat writer for the Knicks since 1996, suggested that the Knicks delayed announcing that Lin had suffered a serious knee injury to sell more playoff tickets ahead of last Wednesday's purchase deadline for season-ticket holders.
The Knicks knew two days earlier from an MRI result that Lin had sustained a torn meniscus in his left knee and would likely be out of commission, Isola wrote in an article.
That didn't stop the NBA team from using the image of a celebrating Lin in an email to subscribers, the story said. Lin, the couch-flopping benchwarmer who became a star, formally decided he would have surgery on Saturday, after the deadline, according to reports. Lin underwent surgery on Monday and will probably be out the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs if the Knicks get there, ESPN reported.
A day before Saturday's announcement, Knicks Coach Mike Woodson had hinted at the severity of the injury, saying he didn't know “when” or “if” Lin would return to the lineup.
The Daily News article continued that it made business sense for the Knicks to withhold information about its marquee attraction.
The Knicks issued a vehement denial in USA Today and other publications, calling the report a "malicious attack." The Daily News' tabloid rival, the New York Post, published a statement Tuesday from Knicks parent Cablevision that accused Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman of "intimidation and extortion" so Zuckerman could annex Cablevision-owned Newsday. The release said Cablevision and its chief executive, Knicks owner James Dolan, have repeatedly rebuffed Zuckerman's merger efforts and Zuckerman has threatened to continue a bad press campaign until they joined together.
The Knicks told The Huffington Post Tuesday that the team had no further comment.
The Daily News denied any smear campaign, and said it would continue to cover the Knicks in a fair manner.
According to Gothamist, Isola didn't back down in a radio interview on WFAN: “I’m putting it out there so people can make their own conclusions about it. Do I think that played into it on some level? Absolutely."
Even the implication of marketing hanky-panky by the Knicks is a serious matter. And what of fans who bought tickets thinking Lin was going to play? We have a sneaking suspicion this story isn't over, even if Lin's season is.