Charles in Charge at MSG; Not Dolan
A bitter feud erupts into arrests and mediation by NBA commish Silver and Michael Jordan
Could Only Happen to the Knicks
On Wednesday, February 8, the Knicks lost again. The final score was Clippers 119-115, but that wasn’t the story. In a “only in New York” moment, 90’s fan-favorite Charles Oakley was arrested. According to James Dolan, various media reports and a radio interview on ESPN New York, Oakley was drunk, angry and intended to confront the Knicks owner. the 6’9″ player became ‘verbally and physically’ abusive and was arrested. The long-simmering feud became a week-long battle of egos, accusations, and bans. Now a week later, let’s look back at a timeline of events.
How we got to Oakley vs. Dolan
- May 2010 – It’s speculated that Oakley advised free agent LeBron James to avoid signing with the Knicks;
- 2011 – present – Former Knick publicly criticizes Knicks players, coaches and owner James Dolan;
- November 2012 – Oakley attempts to get a job with organization, but is denied because of his public criticisms, allegedly;
- February 8, 2017 – Charles is arrested after assaulting MSG personnel;
- February 9, 2017 – The PF tells ESPN that security guards are under “orders” to alert James Dolan whenever he is in the building and that they even follow him from his seat to the bathroom;
- February 9, 2017 – Players around league voice their support for the PF with ‘Free Oakley’ messages on social media.
- February 10, 2017 – Dolan sits down for 30 minutes with ESPN New York speculating on Oakley’s alcohol problem and anger issues. He also reveals that the former Knick has been indefinitely banned from MSG;
- February 12, 2017 – Latrell Spreewell, who had cursed out Dolan in the past, makes his first appearance at the Garden since ’94 as a guest of the owner.
- February 13, 2017 – NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and Michael Jordan are brought in to broker a truce between the owner and former player;
- February 14, 2017 – SportsNation and other outlets report Oakley’s ban has been lifted.
What did we learn
The feud was another ugly incident in the recent history of the Knicks. Do I believe Oakley has an anger management issue? Yes. Is he a drunk? I don’t know. But just like death and taxes, one thing remains clear, James Dolan is a a%%hole. Being privileged, rich and in charge does not give you the right to abuse people. Oakley gave his heart, body and mind to the Knicks organization for over a decade and your only responsibility should be to say thank you and move on. Does Oakley have a right to be bitter? Sure. Is it fair? No. Dolan is lucky his arena continues to sell out even though he hasn’t fielded a winner in over 20 years. Suck it up Jimmy, get a thicker skin and get over yourself.