NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The NBA will not punish Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan for his email to a Knicks fan in which he speculates that the man may be an alcoholic.

Spokesman Mike Bass said Monday that Dolan would not be fined. Commissioner Adam Silver defended Dolan in an interview with the New York Post, calling him a “consummate New Yorker.”

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“Jim got an unkind email and responded with an unkind email,” Silver told the newspaper.

“We talk,” the commissioner added Monday on “Late Show with David Letterman.” “(Dolan has) a lot of passion.”

Dolan’s email was written Jan. 23 and appeared Sunday on He responded to the longtime fan who had criticized him by writing that the man was a “hateful mess” and an “alcoholic maybe.” He added that the man should “start rooting for the Nets because the Knicks (don’t) want you.”

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“To me, it was a joke,” the fan, 73-year-old Irving Bierman, told WFAN radio on Monday. “Everything he said to me was a joke. It had nothing to do with (what I wrote) in my original email.”

His reply?

“I said ‘Thank you and good luck,’ ” Bierman said.

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