Controversy over cheerleaders epitomizes the Knicks and their news coverage

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A quintessential day on the Knicks beat!

Sometime late Monday night, Frank Isola of The Daily News wrote a piece spreading word of James Dolan's volcanic reaction to his Knicks being 1-2 through three games. We discussed the absurdity of the whole thing earlier, including the rumor that Dolan took his rage out on the Knicks City Dancers, ordering "that the girls’ roles be reduced to mostly throwing T-shirts into the crowd."

Which is silly, of course. Silly, unimportant, and neither concrete nor compelling enough to last more than a day, unless the Knicks keep losing and Dolan demands that MSG remove all the sinks from the bathrooms or something.

But, somehow, things have only gotten sillier since the Knicks got wind of the story. Marc Berman of the New York Post replied Tuesday afternoon with a sourced cheerleader report -- a sourced cheerleader report -- entitled "Don't worry, Knicks City Dancers not shuffling off". It includes quotes like this one:

"We’re in the process of a rebranding of the Knicks City Dancers," the source said. "We’re looking at making them bigger and better so they’re not just regular cheerleaders."

For those unfamiliar with the principal characters above, a quick explanation:

Isola, the Daily News reporter, has a reputation for being a one-note troll. The animus between him and the Knicks is well-known and systematic, and it has soured his reporting over the years.

Berman, conversely, has a reputation -- trumpeted far and wide by Isola, for one -- for being a Knicks mouthpiece. He regularly issues articles with sources who are plainly Knick representatives trying to get a message out.

The Knicks, meanwhile, are a mostly clandestine organization who only stick their heads above ground to shout down trifling bullshit like this. Dolan and company can executives out of the blue and make puzzling roster moves with nary a peep, then dodge questions for months afterward. But whenever a rumor about Dolan's infantile meddling crops up in a newspaper article, they suddenly materialize to offer comment. Better yet, they think broadcasting the notion of an in-season "rebrand" to make their dance team "bigger and better" will make them look less sinister.

Knicks fans see this with some regularity. Dolan acts like a petulant baby. Isola proudly displays the dirt he's mined on Dolan's petulance. Dolan and the Knicks respond via Berman, heroically making themselves look even lamer in the process. Isola sneers at Berman on the Knicks. And here you have a day that perfectly encapsulates the Knicks beat cycle. It is big and stupid and it goes on loudly devouring itself forever

Just know that, hard as the team makes it, there are still an intrepid few reporters covering the Knicks' actual on-court ills, which are real and interesting and have nothing to do with dancers.

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