Charles Oakley, the former Knicks great and frequent outspoken critic of team owner James Dolan, was involved in an ugly incident at Wednesday night’s game and the Twitter response was immediate.
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New York Knicks owner James Dolan made an appearance on The Michael Kay Show on Friday afternoon to discuss the altercation that led to the arrest of ex-Knicks forward Charles Oakley during Wednesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden.
Dolan, who has had an acrimonious relationship with Oakley for years, started the interview by confirming an earlier report that Oakley — who was a staple of the franchise in the 1990s, as well as a fan favorite — is banned from the arena.
“It’s not necessarily a lifetime ban, but I think the most important thing with that is we need to keep the Garden a place that’s comfortable and safe for everybody who goes there,” Dolan said. “Anybody who comes to the Garden, whether they have been drinking too much alcohol, they’re looking for a fight, they’re abusive, disrespectful to the staff and the fans, they’re gonna be ejected, and they’re gonna be banned … We are gonna put the ban in place, and hopefully it won’t be forever.”
On Thursday afternoon, Oakley shared his side of the story and claimed innocence, saying that he was sitting in his seat for “four minutes” before “eight to 10 guys” came up and told him that he had to leave the arena.
According to Dolan, who was speaking publicly for his first time since the incident, that wasn’t the case.
“It’s very clear to us that Charles Oakley came to the Garden with an agenda, with a mission in mind,” he said. “From the moment he stepped into the Garden, and I mean the moment he walked through those set of doors, he began with this behavior. Abusive behavior, disrespectful behavior … It just accelerated and accelerated and accelerated. All the way down to his seats, then ultimately with the confrontation with security, then eventually ending up with his being ejected and arrested.”
Dolan went on to call Oakley’s story “unbelievable.”
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“I can’t explain why — we have video tape, we have dozens of statements, etc. I’m quite sure that everything we’ve given the press is very, very accurate,” Dolan said. “I don’t know how to explain it. Maybe he doesn’t remember it. I think that Charles has got a problem. I’ve said this before … he has a problem. People need to understand that. He has a problem with anger, he’s both physically and verbally abusive, he may have a problem with alcohol, we don’t know. But those behaviors, being physically and verbally abusive, those are personality problems.”
As for Dolan’s relationship with Oakley moving forward?
“There’s nothing that would make me happier than to see Charles Oakley be on that center court being honored with the rest of his teammates and my shaking his hand, etc.,” Dolan said. “And all we really need for that to happen is for Charles to address these behaviors … he was a great Knick and we would love to have him. All of his teammates, etc. still come and he should be with that group … but this behavior, it just doesn’t work with that, and until he can address it and get it under control, then we probably won’t be able to do it.”
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