Did Charles Oakley Deserve To Get Thrown Out Of Madison Square Garden & Arrested?
Charles Oakley and James Dolan have been at odds in recent years. And that’s putting it lightly. Oakley has been very vocal and very honest about the struggles of the New York Knicks, and he’s ripped a number of people within the organization, including Dolan, while speaking about it. This has obviously upset Dolan, who owns the team and has refused to invite Oakley to games or honor him during tributes to other Knicks players. It has created a hostile relationship between Oakley and the team that he played for for a decade back in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s.
With all of that in mind, it was a little bit surprising to see Oakley show up at a Knicks game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. But according to reports, he bought a ticket on his own and sat right down by the court along with all of the other paying customers. He was there to take in the game, and if you believe some of the reports that are out there, he was also there to give Dolan a piece of his mind since Dolan has refused to meet with him to talk about their fractured relationship. Oakley reported heckled Dolan throughout the first quarter of the game.
But unfortunately, he didn’t get the chance to hang around any longer than that. Dolan reportedly sent a handful of security guards over to Oakley to ask him to leave the arena. Oakley refused, and that’s when things got really ugly. Initially, Oakley and the security guards simply argued over whether or not he was going to leave. But when one tried to touch Oakley to haul him off to the exit, Oakley shoved him and then slapped his arm. He shoved another guard as well. And he let it be known that he was not going to go quietly into the night. He had paid his money for his seat, and he wanted to be left alone.
The tense situation eventually ended with Oakley getting arrested and charged with three counts of assault. But did he really deserve to be treated the way that he was treated by the Knicks? To make matters worse, the Knicks put out a statement after his arrest and said they hope Oakley gets “help.”
This seems like an odd way to treat a former player. On the one hand, we get that the Knicks can’t allow Oakley—or anyone else—to hit a security guard inside of MSG. But on the other, it sounds like the Knicks may have put Oakley into a bad spot when they asked him to leave the arena in the first place. Had he gone up to Dolan and started a physical confrontation or said something so bad that he deserved to get kicked out, that would have been one thing. But it sounds like Oakley was ejected for being Oakley, which is to say that he was ejected for speaking his mind. And that seems unfair.
What’s done is done, and Oakley clearly crossed a line when he tried to rough up the security guards who were sent to escort him out. He’ll have to face the music in court now. But the Knicks have yet another PR nightmare on their hands thanks to mismanagement by their management, and they have officially turned into the biggest circus in the NBA. Let’s hope someone figures out a way to turn the ship around soon.