In an Instagram post, Mark Jackson wanted to make something clear – he wasn’t fired from a job he already turned down.
On Thursday night, the former ESPN NBA color commentator and one-time Golden State Warriors head coach took to social media to throw cold water on a report from the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand claiming that he was dismissed from MSG Network before he had the chance to call games for the New York Knicks. Jackson said that actually turned the job down over a week before Marchand’s report.
Jackson, who called games alongside Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy for 15 years on ESPN and ABC, had spoken with the team about working as part of a rotating group of analysts that would fill in for the Hall of Famer Walt “Clyde” Frazier. In Marchand’s report, team president Leon Rose made the decision to not only keep Jackson from working with the team but also ban him from the team’s plane, bus and hotel.
The banning part certainly looks harsh in the light, with no exact reason given other than the team’s policy about keeping broadcasters and team personnel separate. Yet Marchand stated that a conflict between Jackson and assistant coach Darren Erman from 2014 had resurfaced just as Jackson was to join the Knicks on their current road trip:
“In 2014, Darren Erman, a current Knicks assistant, was fired by Jackson — then Golden State’s head coach — with Erman an assistant on his staff. An ESPN report shortly after stated that Erman had taped Jackson and the players unbeknownst to them. Jackson later called Erman’s actions “inexcusable.” Jackson was fired by Golden State later that year.”
Though Jackson himself refuted the report, there was something curious about the news to begin with. If there was an issue with Erman – and it’s understandable if there were still lingering feelings between the two men – there was nearly an entire offseason and a full month into the current NBA season for the problem to have come up in Jackson’s talks with the Knicks.
That said, MSG said that they weren’t able to work something out this season. Jackson himself didn’t close the door either, saying “you never know what the future holds” and invoking the team’s mantra “Once a Knick, Always a Knick.”