Not only is Charles Oakley persona non grata at Madison Square Garden, but apparently so is the former New York Knicks star’s name. According to a report on Deadspin, MSG security attempted to oust a small group of fans for chanting Oakley’s name and “Free Oakley” during the New York Rangers’ 4-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, a day after security ousted Oakley from the arena during a Knicks game.
Charles Oakley chant at the Garden tonight! pic.twitter.com/Y8hQOANkwM
— #LGR (@michaelpachecoo) February 10, 2017
The chants began in the first period and spanned into the second before being abruptly stopped by MSG security in the third period, according to a fan at the scene.
“Security just comes up to [the fan who led the chants] and tells him he’s gone,” the fan, named Corey, told Deadspin, which obtained video of the heated exchange. “The guy says, ‘I was just chanting and did nothing wrong.’ ”
Corey continued, noting the interaction was “completely unprovoked” because, Corey repeated, “the guy did nothing wrong.”
The exchange appeared to last just a minute or two, before the arena’s security team, which had reportedly gathered at both ends of the section, allowed the chant leader to stay.
“Once [security] saw cameras out and people saying that he did nothing wrong, they left,” the fan told Deadspin.
The chant emerged as a way for fans to express their support for Oakley, who the night before, was forcibly removed by Madison Square Garden security and charged with assault after he got physical with two of the guards.
The reasons why guards originally attempted to eject the star remain unclear, although the Knicks said it was because Oakley was verbally harassing the team’s owner James Dolan, with whom Oakley has a rocky history.
Oakley, of course, disputed that story in a series of media interviews he gave Thursday morning, noting that although he was sitting near Dolan at Wednesday’s game, he did not speak to him.
The situation played out on live television, causing a stir around the basketball world. Several current and former players defended Oakley, including LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, as well as Reggie Miller and Oakley’s former Knicks teammate Chris Childs.
“We used to be known for Willis Reed running out of the tunnel,” Childs told TMZ. “Now it’s about dragging Oak into it. Our franchise is so broken down, it’s sad to see.”
Oakley, who played for the Knicks from 1988 to 1998, has been indefinitely banned from attending events at Madison Square Garden.
“It’s not necessarily a lifetime ban,” Dolan said on “The Michael Kay Show” on Friday afternoon. “We need to keep the Garden a comfortable and safe place…”