New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee made a statement with his choice of attire in attending Sunday’s game against San Antonio.
Lee sat courtside, and was clearly wearing a Charles Oakley jersey.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 12, 2017
This is definitely not a coincidence given recent events, and Lee, like many Knicks fans, is siding with Oakley in his ongoing feud with owner James Dolan. On a day when the Knicks owner is quite clearly trying to deflect attention by surrounding himself with team alumni, Lee is here to remind everyone that the fans won’t be forgetting this anytime soon.
Charles Oakley shot back at James Dolan after the New York Knicks owner speculated that alcoholism led to his behavior at Wednesday night’s game.
Oakley said he was not an alcoholic – rather, he’d visited many rehabilitation centers across the country to help treat those who are, including former Nets player Jayson Williams.
“Dolan might think because I go to volunteer at Rebound Institute treatment centers with Jayson that I’m a client,” Oakley told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I’m just supporting the amazing work Jayson is doing. I’m not an alcoholic but Jayson is.”
Oakley’s manager, Akhtar Farzaie, said the former Knick has visited treatment centers to cook for patients, and has also raised money to help people in need of treatment get it. Oakley was apparently instrumental in getting Williams, a close friend, into treatment after the former Net got a second DWI.
Dolan essentially argued that Oakley’s behavior may have been influenced by alcohol in an interview Friday, another accusation that has gone down very poorly among Knicks fans.
New York Knicks owner James Dolan conducted a radio interview on Friday to address many of the topics that were part of the fallout from a highly-publicized incident that resulted in the arrest of former team forward Charles Oakley on Wednesday night.
During his interview with “The Michael Kay Show” on YES, Dolan confirmed that Oakley has been banned from MSG, but the ban is only temporary.
“It’s not necessarily a lifetime ban. The most important thing is we need to keep the Garden a place that is comfortable and safe,” Dolan said on ESPN radio. “Anyone that comes to the Garden, too much alcohol, is looking for a fight and being abusive is going to get banned.
“Hopefully, it won’t be forever.”
Dolan laid out what Oakley must do in order to get back in good standing with the Knicks, which would lead to him being honored by the franchise and allowed back in Madison Square Garden.
“There’s nothing that would make me happier,” Dolan said of lifting the ban. All we need is for Charles to address these behaviors. He was a great Knick. He should be up there and being recognized, but this behavior … until he fixes that, it won’t happen.”
So there it is: Dolan confirmed that Oakley is temporarily banned from MSG because of his conduct, which included assaulting security guards. Oakley believes that he was set up by security.
In the interview, Dolan also addressed his status as a disliked owner and used the difficult New York market as his defense.
Dolan on fans hating him: "You'd be hard-pressed to find a living owner (of a New York sports team) that's loved."
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) February 10, 2017
Dolan said he stays out of basketball affairs and lets team president Phil Jackson do his thing. When asked about the poor performance of the team, Dolan deflected blame and told fans to direct their anger towards Jackson.
Dolan’s interview on Friday will do little to change the opinion of fans, who have sided with Oakley, who remains a beloved figure in New York. Oakley has also had the support of many famous people, as evidenced here.
Charles Oakley accused Madison Square Garden security officials of racism and called them “henchmen” of Knicks owner James Dolan, according to statements released by the arena on Friday.
The statements, made by officials who came in contact with Oakley at various points on Wednesday night, were released by MSG as part of their ongoing dispute with the former Knick over what led to the fight that got him ejected from the arena.
One security guard said Oakley became agitated just by being looked at.
“You got all those f—ing security people over them looking at me. I don’t know what the f— they’re looking at, but they’re getting on my f—ing nerves,” Oakley allegedly said, via Jonathan Lehman of the New York Post.
The employees paint a picture of a man who was clearly on edge and obsessed with Dolan, with one saying he tried to access an off-limits area of the arena in an attempt to confront the Knicks owner. Another seat order taker said Oakley spent part of the evening muttering about Dolan.
At one point during the scuffle, Oakley allegedly yelled “All of you suck Dolan’s d–k!” at the security guards attempting to apprehend him. While being removed from the arena, he allegedly called the guards Dolan’s “henchmen” and accused them of targeting him because he is black.
There were differing accounts as to whether Oakley was under the influence of alcohol. One guard said he “seemed pretty inebriated,” but a supervisor said he “seemed more of a jerk than drunk.”
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.
Charles Oakley on Thursday expressed remorse for his actions that led to his arrest the night before.
What began as an evening at Madison Square Garden watching the Knicks play the Clippers turned into a disturbing scene during the first quarter. The former Knicks player was ejected from the arena after acting in an uncontrollable manner and having a confrontation with security. You can see some of the reported reasons for Oakley’s anger here and videos of what took place here.
On Thursday, Oakley was a guest on ESPN Radio in New York. While on the air, he took the opportunity to apologize to fans and let them know he does not want to be a “troublemaker.”
Oakley on ESPN-NY Radio said, "I want to say I’m sorry to all the fans of the Garden. I never want to be a troublemaker in life."
— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) February 9, 2017
Oakley also said he would like an opportunity to work things out with James Dolan, whom Oakley reportedly yelled at prior to being taken away by security.
Oakley says he still would like to sit down and work things out with James Dolan.
— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) February 9, 2017
After what transpired Wednesday evening, it would be tough to blame Dolan for not wanting to speak with Oakley. It was an ugly scene, to say the least. Oakley was a favorite among fans during his 10 seasons with the Knicks and was even backed by Dwyane Wade. It’s unlikely Oakley has much support within the Knicks organization right now.
Charles Oakley insists he did absolutely nothing wrong before he was ejected from Madison Square Garden Wednesday night, but the New York Knicks are telling a much different story.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Knicks’ public relations department said multiple people witnessed Oakley’s “abusive behavior” from the moment he walked into the arena. The team also said everything Oakley has said about the incident is “pure fiction.”
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) February 9, 2017
Those are some very strong words from the team, so they must be confident Oakley deserved what he got.
Several reports indicated that Oakley was yelling at Knicks owner James Dolan. When he was asked by MSG security to leave the premises, Oakley became physical. You can see some videos of the incident here.
Oakley played in New York for 10 seasons, but his relationship with the Knicks is clearly strained. He has been critical of Dolan in the past, and he claims he has tried to meet with Dolan for years and been shut down. There are rumblings that Oakley has been angry with the Knicks recently because they have not included him in their 70th anniversary celebration.
While multiple current players have already come to Oakley’s defense, the Knicks clearly feel their decision to eject him was warranted.