Opinions remain divided over the reasons behind Charles Oakley’s abrupt arrest last Wednesday
Oakley asserts his innocence, that he was subject to unfair provocation. The official statements from the Knicks are to the contrary. However, fans and friends of Oakley beg to differ. What exactly happened on Wednesday, February 8? It has left everyone in a state of shock.
The official Tweet from the Knicks following the incident claimed Oakley was abusive. They assert that all present in the stadium confirm their perspective. But fans responded with opposing views. Oakley has had a longstanding negative relationship with Knicks owner James Dolan. Fans and friends wonder if the whole incident is a culmination of Dolan’s contempt for the ex-Knicks star.
In fact, fans are being punished for their support of Oakley. A fan had a “Free Oakley” sign taken from him by security at Madison Square Garden on Friday. T-shirts declaring support of Oakley are being worn, around a thousand sold to Oakley supporters. Player-agent Daniel Hazan claims that a portion of the proceeds will go to Oakley.
Video uploaded to Twitter shows the incident as it unfolded.
Several guards manhandled Oakley out of the stadium. When they reached the tunnels underneath, the NYPD arrested him and took him to jail. The police charged him with three counts of assault.
Former Knicks President, Dave Checketts sought to bail him out, according to a tweet from his son Spencer Checkett.
Oakley claims he bought a ticket into the stadium, and within minutes of taking his seat, the altercation ensued. Dolan had been sitting in the next row. Dolan alleged that Oakley had been shouting at him, Oakley denies this vehemently. Fans and former colleagues are aghast at the ill treatment of this beloved star.
Oakley was a basketball darling during the 90s
A beloved member of the Knicks team, he played enforcer on the court. The competition feared him and he was a valuable asset to the team. Many cannot understand how this well-loved veteran could end up experiencing disrespectful treatment.
Observing the events as they unfolded was Doc Rivers, Oakley’s former teammate, and current Clippers Coach. Rivers was greatly saddened and stated it was tough to watch. He had to hold himself back from intervening.
Rivers stated that Oakley was the best team-mate in the world, and he had never seen anything like it in his life. He has many questions about the circumstances leading up to the arrest.
The feud between Oakley and Dolan is well-known, but the reasons are not so clear. Dolan appears to have an unshakable and unreasonable hatred of Oakley. Oakley cannot work out why it is so intense. He has criticized his former team in the past but doesn’t feel it warrants such bitterness. Especially not culminating in his arrest.
Oakley attempted to make peace with the Knicks owner back in 2015. But his request fell on deaf ears. Since then Dolan instigated a rule that when Oakley set foot in Madison Square Garden, security would receive information. Oakley reports that at times security even followed him into the bathroom.
It is this over-the-top treatment that he believes led to the provocation and arrest.
Meanwhile, support for Oakley is strong, and suspicion of Dolan is growing. Dwayne Wade, Chicago Bulls guard, has suggested that other players should become vigilant. The growing concern is that what happened to Oakley could now happen to anyone who upsets Dolan.
LeBron James also appears to have come out in support. He too has been subject to silent treatment from Knicks management in the past. Phil Jackson, the Knicks president, ignored him during a game in 2015 after a prior verbal altercation between them.