Knicks’ Julius Randle says ‘team didn’t make me available’ as reason for recent media absence

Julius Randle thumbs down white uniform

The NBA fined the Knicks $25,000 for failing to make Julius Randle available to the media after Thursday’s game against New Orleans.

Prior to that, Randle hadn’t been available to the media after several recent home games. That absence, presumably, was a driving force behind the NBA’s decision.

Sometimes players and teams are fined for media violations. Last season, the league fined both the Nets and Kyrie Irving $35,000 each for violating media rules. So it was noteworthy that the Knicks incurred the entire fine following Randle’s absence.

Randle spoke to the media after Sunday’s win over the Clippers. When asked about the fine, Randle made a reference to his appreciation for Knicks owner James Dolan. Randle seemed to be thanking Dolan for taking on the fine.

“You know, honestly, I appreciate Mr. Dolan. He’s great,” Randle said after putting up 24 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the Knicks’ win. “The reaction (to the fine) was, just the team didn’t make me available. And all I can do is my job as a player. The team didn’t make me available, and that’s it.”

Earlier this season, Randle was fined $25,000 for using profane language in a press conference after a win over Boston.

During the game, Randle made a contested jump shot to put the Knicks up four after they’d trailed by as many as 25 points. Fans cheered after the made basket, but Randle gave the Madison Square Garden crowd the thumbs-down gesture.

After the game, Randle explained to reporters what he meant by the gesture and that he was telling fans to “Shut the f–k up.”

Randle issued a statement on his Instagram page apologizing for his words and actions.

“Just want to send a quick message to our fans and be clear — I love NYC and being a part of this team and this franchise. And like most Knicks fans, I am really passionate about us being successful,” Randle wrote.

“My family and I love how the fans and New Yorkers have embraced and accepted us and have made us feel great about our decision to commit long-term with the team this past summer. This support means the world to us.”

This season has been frustrating at times for both Randle and the Knicks. The team hasn’t played with consistency and Randle hasn’t shot the ball as well as he did last season.

There has been plenty of armchair psychoanalysis of Randle’s body language and words during the season. No one outside of Randle, his family and his close associates have any idea about what — if anything — has bothered the 26-year-old.

Nonetheless, there was some internal frustration within the organization after Randle took on the fans publicly. Just my opinion: if the Knicks win games, no one will care about the “STFU” comment. But if New York struggles to string wins together, it will be seen as emblematic of some of the issues facing the team.


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