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#pounditFriday, July 1, 2022

Julius Randle shares message to Knicks fans after incident

Julius Randle giving the thumbs-down

Julius Randle is doing a bit of damage control after his incident at Madison Square Garden on Thursday night.

The New York Knicks forward was seen flashing a thumbs-down to his home crowd after hitting a layup in the fourth quarter of the Knicks’ game against the Boston Celtics.

Afterwards, Randle was asked what the gesture meant.

“Shut the f— up,” he replied, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News (profanity edited by LBS).

The Knicks, who were 18-20 on the year entering Thursday’s game, trailed by as many as 25 points in the first half Thursday. As such, they heard boos from their home fans. But the Knicks engineered a remarkable comeback and won at the buzzer on a miracle shot by RJ Barrett (video here).

The Madison Square Garden crowd started cheering as the Knicks began to turn the tide. Thus, Randle’s gesture was meant to tell them to pipe down if they could not keep the same energy when things were going poorly.

In a statement posted to his Instagram page on Friday, Randle expressed regret for his handling of the situation.

“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,” he said in the statement. “And like most Knicks fans, I am really passionate about us being successful. 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.”

“I understand that my actions also represent the league, this organization, and the city, and that I should have handled things last night differently and expressed myself with more professionalism and more appropriate language in the heat of the moment,” Randle added. “My comment was an example of how sometimes you say things you regret to people you love, even if it came from a place of passion and deep love. Nobody wants to win more than me and I will continue to show my loyalty and dedication to my teammates, the entire Knicks organization, and the fans who have shown me and my family so much love. I am going to keep focusing on the future.”

Randle is in his third season as a Knick. He was an All-Star last season and was subsequently rewarded with a $117 million extension that runs through 2026. This season, Randle is once again the Knicks’ leading scorer.

New York sports fans are notoriously tough. Randle’s controversy is eerily similar to one we saw with another New York team just a few months ago.

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