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Who to Blame for Oakley Incident?

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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – The New York Knicks (22-33) have had their fair share of issues on the court this season. However last Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Knicks had a major issue off the court for thousands of spectators to see in Madison Square Garden. For some, all that could be heard were chants of “OAKLEY, OAKLEY”. Many spectators in the Garden did have a good angle on the situation. But it didn’t take long before everyone in America was talking about the Charles Oakley situation that should never have been.

Oakley was arrested and charged with 3 counts of assault for hitting security guards (misdemeanor) and criminal trespassing, and was subsequently banned from the Garden. Here is Oakley making a statement, shortly after being released by NYPD.

What we do know, is that Oakley was “ordered to leave” by Knicks owner James Dolan. Whether that was done appropriately, might have something to do with Frank Benedetto (Senior Vice President for Security of MSG) being fired following the Oakley incident.

Dolan went on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York 98.7 FM, and said that Oakley was acting inappropriately using “racial overtones and sexual overtones.” The Knicks owner also accused Oakley of a potential “alcohol” problem. Dolan referenced reports from MSG staff that Oakley appeared to be “impaired”, as reasoning for his accusation.

To go on the national airwaves and speak on a former Knick legend the way Dolan did, is absolutely inexcusable. Oakley was the heart and soul of the New York toughness, back in the “Golden Era” of Knick basketball. Oakley did not deserve the way he was excused from MSG, and he didn’t deserve to have his integrity attacked. Dolan did not have evidence nor merit, to claim Oakley was an “alcoholic.”

Oakley discredited those claims to the New York Post, saying “Dolan might think because I go to volunteer at Rebound Institute treatment centers with Jayson that I’m a client. I’m just supporting the amazing work Jayson is doing. I’m not an alcoholic, but Jayson is.” Jayson Williams is a former NBA player and friend of Oakley’s, more famously known for shooting his limo driver.

Dolan is making it hard on the Knicks, with his handling of this Oakley situation. Oakley has gathered the support of many current NBA players, including LeBron James in this Instagram post:

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How can any free agents be wooed to come to New York, if this is how they could potentially be treated by front office management? This is a very messy situation that gets worse by the day. The answer may be in lifting the Dolan imposed MSG ban on Oakley, which Dolan said was not “lifetime”.

Free agents can also reference how Phil Jackson is trying to run Carmelo Anthony out of New York this season. Jackson is constantly blasting Anthony to local and national media. This is a horrible way of attracting players that could potentially get you one step closer to a championship.

Barry Holmes is a Senior Writer for PureSportsNY.com. Follow him on Twitter @BHO732

(Featured Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated)

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