Just when you think the drama surrounding the New York Knicks can’t get any crazier, former Knicks legend Charles Oakley was arrested at a game in Madison Square Garden last night. Oakley was sitting in his seat having a conversation with some friends when he was asked to leave by arena security. He happened to be sitting a few rows behind owner James Dolan and it is widely speculated that Dolan had Oakley tossed from the game. It is also well documented that Dolan and Oakley have had a strained relationship because of Oakley’s criticism of the way Dolan has been running the franchise. What transpired last night had to be the climax of years of animosity coming to a head.
Oakley was handcuffed, arrested, and charged with three counts of assault because of the altercation with arena security. At one point they even wrestled him to the ground. After the incident the Knicks released this statement on Twitter:
“Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner. He has been ejected and is currently being arrested by the New York City Police Department. He was a great Knick, and we hope he gets some help soon.”
This drew the ire of many current and former players including All-Star point guard Chris Paul, according to the New York Daily News. Paul tweeted this in response to the Knicks statement, “Hope that he gets some help soon? Not the right way to portray Oak…always had my back and the realest person our league has seen #UncleOak.”
The way the New York Knicks worded the statement, it’s obvious that they were trying to attack his character. For someone who gave their all to the New York franchise for 10 years, this is a sad truth as to where the organization stands regarding one of their former players.
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers had a first-row seat to the mayhem because his team was playing the Knicks. Rivers was a longtime teammate of Oakley in New York and he couldn’t believe what he was seeing in the stands.
“It’s sad. That was tough for me to watch,” Rivers said. “Honest to God, you can see I actually took three steps. I swear I was going to run down there, and then I thought, ‘What the hell am I going to do?’ But I didn’t like that. That’s my guy. So that was tough to watch from where I was standing.”
Dwyane Wade also chimed in on Twitter saying, “10years!!! 10 years Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with won’t be this picture. It will be the image of him being taking down to the ground last night in the same arena he gave his all 2 as a player by the guards! This Could happen to any of us!!! #StayWoke We are not above this treatment!”
Oakley made this statement after getting out of Midtown Precinct South Jail, “They said I had to leave. They got ordered. And I was on my back, totally disrespected, but you know, things happen in life. You know, I’m lucky I went down, I got booked and I got out. When somebody walking up on you, you’ve got to protect yourself in all matters. And I’ve been in situations like that before. I’ve been jumped before. So in my mind, I’m automatically thinking if you see seven, eight, nine, 10 guys walking up on you, you have to brace yourself and be ready for the challenge. That’s how I’m thinking.”
These unfortunate events, along with the Phil Jackson/Carmelo Anthony saga, have the Knicks organization in complete disarray. The franchise is totally dysfunctional and will no doubt have an extremely hard time attracting any big-name free agents to come play there. If they don’t make changes in the front office soon, this team could be a total mess for years to come. A change in ownership couldn’t hurt either. James Dolan has shown his true colors with the Charles Oakley arrest, and if he treats his former players this way, nobody is going to respect him or want to represent his team.
[Featured Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]