Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for this Knick franchise. Last night during the first quarter of another gut wrenching loss an incident in the stands provided the biggest headline of the night. About four minutes into the game Kristaps Porzingis went to the free throw line before an altercation with security involving Knicks' legend Charles Oakley led to his arrest. It was a very sad and ugly scene which saw Oakley get forcefully removed from the Garden by security and arrested for three counts of assault.
The game continued and the Knicks proceeded to blow a 10 point fourth quarter lead to the Clippers in their 119-115 loss. After the game zero of the focus was on the Knick loss, but on Oakley and why he had to removed from the place he called home for 10 years. Video showed that Oakley was about four rows behind Knicks' owner James Dolan who he has a bad relationship with in recent years. Reports during the game stated that Oakley was heckling Dolan from his seat (that he paid for) which lead to confrontation from Knicks' security that Oakley didn't take kindly to and lead to him pushing back. After his release from jail Oakley claimed he did nothing wrong and Dolan had security remove him from the Garden just because he was there. Following his arrest the Knicks' PR released a tweet.
Today in an interview with Stephen A. Smith Oakley told his side of the story and followed up on what he said after his release. Link here
The Knicks came out with another tweet disputing Oakley's side of the story maintaining that he was out of line and not telling the truth.
No matter which side you believe or who you thought was in the wrong the biggest loser from all this is the Knicks. This is a franchise that is a complete embarrassment both on and off the court. Former Knick nemesis Reggie Miller summed up the state of this franchise best with a tweet.
Charles Oakley is a Knicks' legend, the heart, soul, and muscle of those great 90s Knick teams and he was arrested in the home arena of the team he gave everything too. There's no doubt Oakley acted out of hand and never should of put his hands on law enforcement, but the Knicks and James Dolan could've handled this better. Oakley claims he did nothing wrong and every time he goes to the Garden he is followed by security because of his bad blood with Dolan. He has been very open and critical of the Knicks and Jim Dolan has held that against him. This season makes the 70th anniversary of the Knicks' franchise and they've welcomed back and honored many of their former greats except for Oakley. This clearly upset Charles who has always loved the Knicks and their fans and would love nothing more than to be welcomed back into the Knick family. The only thing stopping that from happening has been Dolan.
From all reports Oakley was asked to leave just because Jim Dolan doesn't like him. Because Oakley has been one of the only former Knicks to be honest about what a terrible owner he has been. Because James Dolan can't handle the truth. It's an absolute disgrace that one of the most beloved Knicks' of all time was treated this way and Dolan just sat there and watched it happen.
What really made Dolan and the Knicks look like the villain was the ending of the first tweet they sent out addressing the incident. "He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon." For Dolan and the Knicks' PR to imply that there is something wrong with Oakley is completely out of line. They acted like Oakley is an alcoholic or somebody mentally unstable which is simply not the case. Everyone who knows Oakley or has covered him that spoke out today has said that there is nothing wrong wth Oakley. He doesn't need any help with anything. Knick fans know that Oakley doesn't take crap from anyone so it's no wonder he reacted the way he did if he felt he wasn't in the wrong. The Knicks and James Dolan should have known that. There was no need to have packs of security remove such a beloved Knick in a manner that made a scene mid game in front of a sellout crowd, the commissioner of the NBA and the nationally televised audience around the world. The Knicks organziation came out of this looking as bad as they have looked in the past 15 years which is saying something given all the bad that's plagued this franchise since 2001.
Only the Knicks.
On a side note what a power move by Oakley if he was indeed trying to get at Dolan. Trying to fight the owner of the Knicks at Madison Square Garden during a live game. Part of me wants to believe this was the case because if it was Oakley almost lived every Knick fan's dream since Dolan took over as owner.