New York Knicks owner James Dolan fired a top security official and banned former player Charles Oakley from the team’s arena days after the ex-Knick was ejected from his seat and arrested.
In an ESPN radio interview on Friday, Dolan revealed that Oakley would be indefinitely blocked from Madison Square Garden after a brief argument and scuffle between Oakley and guards unfolded in front of stunned fans and players. Oakley, who appeared to push at least one guard, was charged with three counts of assault and a single count of criminal trespassing.
Dolan and Oakley, a favorite with Knicks fans from his 10 seasons with the franchise, have clashed before. According to Dolan, Oakley instigated the latest altercation because he has “personality problems.”
“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,” Dolan said on “The Michael Kay Show.” “But those behaviors, being physically and verbally abusive, those are personality problems.”
In the fallout from the embarrassing scene, Dolan fired Madison Square Garden’s senior vice president for security, Frank Benedetto.
What started the incident during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers is in doubt. Dolan and Knicks officials contend that Oakley was agitated and had yelled obscenities at the Knicks owner and other personnel.
Oakley has denied yelling at Dolan and said the security guards had no reason to confront him. He claimed that security has followed him during previous games he’s attended because of the bad blood with Dolan.
“I’m [not going to] walk into a place and just start hollering out, ‘James Dolan, James Dolan.’ That’s embarrassing, man. I did not do none of that. I didn’t know [Dolan] was sitting in front of me at first until [the security guards] walked over there,” Oakley said, according to USA Today.
NBA players and fans have largely rallied behind Oakley.
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