After the Knicks started the day by firing their head of security at Madison Square Garden over the Charles Oakley incident Wednesday night, team owner James Dolan banned Oakley from the arena.
While making an appearance on ESPN Radio's "The Michael Kay Show" on Friday, Dolan said Oakley is not allowed in the Garden but this is not necessarily a lifetime ban:
Knicks ownership is taking a stand. pic.twitter.com/IvfRCfAgN0— CBS Sports NBA (@CBSSportsNBA) February 10, 2017
Strangely enough, Dolan praised Oakley for his time with the Knicks but said the order is in place for safety issues:
James Dolan: "We need to keep the Garden safe for anybody who goes there."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 10, 2017
Dolan also told Kay that Oakley came into the Garden on Wednesday with an agenda and that's the reason security had to overwhelm him and remove him from the arena. Oakley was arrested after the incident as well. Dolan suggested that the reason for Oakley's behavior was due to anger issues and alcoholism.
Dolan says Oakley came to Garden with an agenda and was abusive and vulgar.— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) February 10, 2017
James Dolan says Charles has a "problem with anger" and then he also says "he may have a problem with alcohol, we don't know."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 10, 2017
Dolan is accusing Oakley of saying things with "racial overtones" and "sexual overtones" at the Garden.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 10, 2017
This is completely opposite from what Oakley said happened. While he apologized to fans, Oakley recounted his side of the incident and said he was just minding his own business. Afterwards, the Knicks released a statement saying that Oakley was relaying false information in his myriad interviews Thursday.
Also of note from his interview, Dolan essentially said that he fired the head of security at Madison Square Garden because Oakley should not have made it to his seat in the first place. The Knicks owner said that security should have spotted Oakley as soon as he entered the building and prevented him from going to his seat, which would have prevented the whole ugly incident from occurring.
James Dolan says "Charles never should have made it to his seat." Well, there's your answer for why Frank Benedetto was fired today.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 10, 2017
This whole situation continues to be a low point in an already dysfunctional Knicks season. It also is a black mark on the franchise as Oakley is beloved by Knicks fans but is treated vastly different by the organization. Even current and former players are in support of Oakley and are aghast at how the Knicks are treating him.
Fans at Madison Square Garden on Thursday chanted "Free Oakley" during the New York Rangers game. And you can bet that when the Knicks host the Nuggets on Friday, the chants will be louder and perhaps even more visceral.