Knicks reportedly fire head of security after Charles Oakley incident
The New York Knicks insist they had every right to eject Charles Oakley from Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, but apparently the team feels its security staff did not do an acceptable job of handling the incident.
DNAinfo New York is reporting that Knicks owner James Dolan has fired his top security chief, MSG senior vice president Frank Bendetto, in the wake of the drama involving Oakley. The decision to fire Bendetto came on Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the Knicks ripped Oakley for his “abusive behavior” in a press release.
Knicks fans and current and former NBA players have been highly critical of the team for kicking Oakley out of MSG. Reports indicated Oakley was told to leave because he was yelling at Dolan, though the 53-year-old has vehemently denied causing a disturbance. Oakley claims security at MSG has followed him around anytime he attends a Knicks game for the past several years.
Bendetto, a former U.S. Secret Service official who worked for the White House under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, could not be reached for comment. Madison Square Garden Company spokesman Barry Watkins told DNAinfo New York that the company does not comment on employees who have left.
The problem for the Knicks is this: if Oakley was indeed thrown out of MSG for being critical of Dolan, fans are going to support him. Oakley was a fan favorite for 10 years with the Knicks, and the current team stinks. Fans are not going to take Dolan’s side with New York destined to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season, even if videos did show Oakley getting physical with security staffers (watch them here).
Bendetto is likely taking the fall for a situation that has become a public relations nightmare.