Charles Oakley has had his last fight with Madison Square Garden security.
Knicks owner James Dolan said Friday that Oakley will be banned from MSG until further notice, saying the franchise legend was being “abusive” and posed a safety risk at the game Wednesday, when he was removed by arena security and later arrested.
“It’s not necessarily a lifetime ban. The most important thing is we need to keep the Garden a place that is comfortable and safe,” Dolan said on ESPN radio. “Anybody that comes to the Garden, whether they have been drinking too much alcohol, they’re looking for a fight, they’re abusive and disrespectful to the staff and the fans, they’re going to be ejected and banned.
“Hopefully, it won’t be forever.”
Dolan defended the Knicks’ conduct in this sensational sequence of events — “I certainly think Charles should be embarrassed,” he said. “Should we be embarrassed? I think we’re sad. I wouldn’t say embarrassed.” At one point in the interview, Dolan, who has talked about his own recovery from substance abuse, suggested Oakley may be an alcoholic, even attributing Oakley’s conflicting account of the incident to a memory lapse.
“Charles has a problem,” Dolan said. “I’ve said this before. … He has a problem with anger. He’s both physically and verbally abusive. He may have a problem with alcohol, we don’t know.”
Akhtar Farzaie, described as Oakley’s spokesperson, replied via TMZ: “Extremely outrageous and unprofessional of James Dolan to create a narrative of Charles Oakley in an attempt to make Charles seem like a monster. Very insulting and disrespectful to those that know him closely as a friend as well as his former teammates, more importantly to the loyal Knicks fans and the city of New York.”