Charles Oakley with Stephen A. Smith on ESPN 98.7 – 2/9/17
Charles Oakley was released from Midtown South police station at around midnight, after his arrest in Madison Square Garden late Wednesday [Feb. 8]. The former Knicks star is being charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal trespassing, after getting into a physical altercation with security agents who had approached him during a heated exchange he had during the game’s 1st quarter. According to Oakley, he was justifiably upset after he was ordered to leave for no apparent reason.
“What happened, me and four friends, um, went to the game tonight to watch the Knicks and the Clippers. Um, get there, sit down to have a good time, and then I was asked to leave the building. I asked why, and they said you have to leave because someone ordered you to leave,” Oakley said in a backroom interview released to the public in his defense on Thursday morning. Oakley says that he had informed the guards of who he was and pleaded that he had just come to take in the game, but they would have none of it.
Hours after the incident blew up headlines, some of the NBA’s most trusted sources began reporting that Oakley’s tiff resulted from him attempting to get a word in with team owner James Dolan, over him having been snubbed from this year’s Knicks 70th Anniversary ceremonies. Oakley disputes that the fight had anything to do with Dolan, stating that his presence at the arena was all about the game. “I love the Knicks, I love New York with all my heart. I wish them all the luck and success on the basketball court, and I don’t know why I’m not welcomed into the Garden,” Oakley recalls telling security prior to their discussion leading to pushes and shoves.