During Wednesday night’s game between the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers, Knicks legend Charles Oakley got into a physical altercation with Madison Square Garden’s security, just before being dragged out of the arena and arrested.
The altercation came as a result of a heated argument between the former NBA star and Knicks owner, James Dolan. Oakley was reportedly asked to leave the arena after the argument but when he refused, he was dragged out by security. The incident was caught on camera and quickly went viral. Several celebrities and ballers commented on the viral clip, some inquisitive about the reasons behind the heated exchange, others defending the former Knick.
Two days after the incident, Knicks owner and MSG executive chairman James Dolan fired the security chief Frank Benedetto, as a result of the altercation, DNAInfo reports.
When asked about the termination of Benedetto, Jonathan Supranowitz, the vice president of public relations for the team, told USA Today Sports, “We don’t comment on employees leaving the company.”
The incident resulted in a lot of negative attention for the Knicks and the league as a whole. Fans and former ballers questioned the mistreatment of the legend. Many believed, in order to smooth things over and resolve the incident, which had become a PR nightmare, Dolan should have extended an olive branch to Oakley. Instead, the arena’s chairman reportedly banned the legend for life.
“BREAKING: Charles Oakley will never be allowed to enter MSG again, even if he purchases a ticket,” Michael Kay of the Michael Kay show tweeted.
Dolan spoke with Kay on Friday to explain his decision.
“It’s not necessarily a lifetime ban,” he said. “We need to keep the Garden a place that’s comfortable and safe.”
“Yes, I understand that he was a big star and a Knick, etc.,” Dolan added. “But, that doesn’t excuse people from that kind of behavior. It is very clear to us that Charles Oakley came to the Garden with an agenda. With a mission in mind. And from the moment he stepped into the Garden, I mean the moment he walked through the first set of doors he began with this behavior. Abusive behavior, disrespectful behavior, stuff that I don’t think you want to say on the radio. Charles never should have made it to his seats.”
“I certainly think Charles should be embarrassed,” he said. “Should we be embarrassed? No, it’s sad. The staff at MSG were abused, don’t be embarrassed. Just refuse to be embarrassed.”
Dolan’s decision comes hours after the termination of Benedetto and the release of several statements from witnesses who encountered Oakley on Wednesday, which cited claims of alleged racism and several profanities.