Charles Oakley, former New York Knicks player, was banned from The Madison Square Garden after a physical confrontation.
While attending a Knicks game, Oakley reportedly verbally harassed the owner James Dolan. The verbal confrontation quickly escalated when security guards asked Oakley to leave the game. Before leaving, Oakley pushed three of the security guards attempting to remove him.
Oakley was charged with three counts of assault, and it is unclear at this point if his suspension from The Madison Square Garden will be permanent.
Reports cite Oakley as the original instigator of the physical confrontation, while others say Oakley was forcibly removed without reason.
“Obviously you hear so many different sides to it: that he threatened someone or that, you know, he was threatened,” Timothy Harmon, freshman English major, said.
Some believe Oakley’s expulsion was due primarily to a falling out between Dolan and Oakley early in 2015.
Harmon said he heard accounts of Dolan as a poor manager. He said Oakley wants to help the Knicks but Dolan is not receptive to his help.
“[Dolan] kind of [wants] to distance himself from the old Knicks and create a new Knicks,” Harmon said.
Oakley, however, denies insulting or threatening Dolan.
“I didn’t say anything to him. I swear on my mother,” Oakley said to the New York Daily News. “They came over and wanted to know why I was sitting there. I bought the ticket. I said, why do you guys keep staring at me? Then they asked me to leave and I said, ‘I’m not leaving.’”
JJ Kresge, freshman digital cinema major, said Oakley’s expulsion was warranted after he assaulted security, but that Dolan overreacted by threatening to have him banned for life.
“Basically, it made the Knicks look terrible,” Kresge said. “One of their most committed, former team players got arrested and got in a fight inside the stadium.”
“That’s a total overreaction,” Harmon said. “People get in fights all the time at games and they don’t get banned for life. Just because it’s some big superstar I don’t think that means he should be banned.”
The Knicks also received backlash from fans from a statement released on Twitter after Oakley’s expulsion.
“Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner. He has been ejected and is currently being arrested by the New York City Police Department. He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help soon,” the statement said.
Knicks fans are not the only people distressed by Oakley’s expulsion. According to USA Today, Draymond Green, a player for the Oakland Golden State Warriors, equated Dolan’s response to that of a slave master.
“That’s a slave mentality. A slave master mentality,” Green said.
“I think that’s ridiculous,” Harmon said. “I think that it’s not like slavery at all. I think that the racial talk needs to stop with stuff like this.”
Oakley and Dolan have not yet made plans to meet to resolve their argument.