We sat in shock as Charles Oakley was being physically escorted out of his seat at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night by multiple security guards.
We shook our heads when we found out that he was actually being arrested and was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one of criminal trespass. We were infuriated at the slew of press releases bashing the Knick great and fan favorite.
Then today, on the Michael Kay Show, things got even uglier.
While interviewing Knicks' owner Jim Dolan, we were stunned when Kay said he'd heard "Oakley will never be allowed to enter MSG again." after which Dolan jumped in to clarify the Garden's position on the show.
“It’s not necessarily a lifetime ban, but I think the most important thing with that is you need to keep the Garden the place that’s comfortable and safe for everyone who goes there."
It appeared to be an interview, something which Dolan rarely grants, that was taking an ugly turn and fans knew it.
“(Fans) remember when Charles played; he was tough, he was great, and he always had 110% energy. And I think, you know, our team hasn’t had what Charles had so I think that makes him even more beloved especially considering how we’re doing," Dolan said in regards to the ugly scene that transpired during the game against the Clippers on Wednesday night. "But am I concerned about (the public perception)? Yes. But at the same time, the No. 1 concern always has to be the safety… of the fans.”
Dolan went on to further criticize Oakley, stating "People need to sort of understand that, 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, but those behaviors, being physically and verbally abusive, those are personality problems.”
Whoa. Did Dolan just say that? Yes he did, and we're sure the Garden PR staff frantically ran to their computers to get their statements ready.
It's been well publicized that Oakley and Dolan have had a long standing beef, but to see how things went down earlier this week was really a shock. Now we find out that the head of security, Frank Benedetto, has been fired and that Oakley won't be allowed back in the building until further notice, or, as Dolan put it, until he gets things "under control."
The Garden has their own version of the events, many of which fans just can't believe. Given the Knicks' woes over the last 15 years, who can blame them?
The saga continues....