Former New York Knick Charles Oakley says it’s a “smack in the face” that the team said it hopes “he gets some help” after the former player had an altercation with Madison Square Garden employees Wednesday night.
Oakley was removed from the Knicks game after the dust-up, which was captured on video, and was charged with assault. His lawyer denies the allegations.
The Knicks wrote in a statement Wednesday night that Oakley “came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner.”
The statement concluded: “He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon.”
Today on Stephen A. Smith’s ESPN radio show, Oakley called the last line of the Knicks’ statement another “smack in the face, like those security guards who came over there telling me to leave.”
“They are good PR, they want to be cute with the statements, but it’s cool though,” Oakley said of the Knicks statement. “They want to say that, be all harsh about things, I can deal with it.”
A police source told ABC News that the incident began when Oakley started yelling at Knicks owner James Dolan, who was seated in front of him. Oakley was told to stop but he didn’t, the source said. At some point Oakley was asked to leave, and Oakley assaulted a couple of arena employees, the source said.
Oakley told Smith’s radio show that he never said anything to Dolan at the Garden.
“I walked into the Garden, simple, I was there four minutes. I sit down, I’m talking to people, people talking back to me,” Oakley said. He said one of the men he was with asked him why people were watching him; he said about 10 to 15 “guys on the wall” were watching.
“They have to tell Dolan whenever I walk into the Garden,” Oakley said. “They walk back to the side, were talking, then about eight to 10 guys come out [and said] ‘We got orders — you got to leave.'”
Of the altercation , Oakley told Smith, “if you get in my face. .. I’m gonna protect myself.”
“If they sent one guy, like the police, to come over and talk to me like a gentleman, not ten people — you send ten people on one person, that’s a coward move,” Oakley said.
The Knicks said in an updated this afternoon: “There are dozens of security staff, employees and NYPD that witnessed Oakley’s abusive behavior. It started when he entered the building and continued until he was arrested and left the building. Every single statement we have received is consistent in describing his actions. Everything he said since the incident is pure fiction.”
Jamie Vitiello, a fan sitting behind Oakley at the game, said the former player used some abusive language towards the security guards after they asked for his ticket, but he was never aggressive. After some time, a personal security guard of Dolan’s went to Oakley and asked him to leave, according to Vitiello. At that point Oakley became aggressive, but did not heckle Dolan, according to Vitiello.
A video posted on Twitter showed Oakley scuffling with officials as they attempted to remove him from the arena.
Oakley, 53, was charged with assault, given a summons to report back to court and released.
Oakley’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, said in a statement, “We deny the allegations and will answer them in court.”
His next appearance is set for April 11.
Oakley said on Smith’s radio show, “I want to say I’m sorry to all the fans. … Never want to be a trouble maker in life, it was just a bad scene. I love New York.”