- Mark Lennihan/AP
New York Knicks owner James Dolan on Friday said that former Knicks player Charles Oakley came to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday with an “agenda” prior to being kicked out and arrested.
In an interview with ESPN’s Michael Kay on Friday, Dolan said Oakley was verbally disruptive and abusive and that he had to be removed for the safety of fans and staff.
Dolan also said that Oakley has “problems,” ranging from anger, verbal and physical abuse, and potentially alcohol.
“To me, Charles has got a problem,” Dolan said. “I’ve said this before, we said it before. I said that at one time he’s his own worst problem. He has a problem. People need to sort of understand that. He has a problem with anger, he’s both physically and verbally abusive. He may have a problem with alcohol, we don’t know. But those behaviors, being physically and verbally abusive, those are personality problems.”
After Oakley was ejected from the Knicks game for getting into a physical altercation with security, the Knicks released a statement saying, “[Oakley] was a great Knick, and we hope gets some help soon.”
When asked about the statement on Friday, Dolan said, “We were trying to be kind. Obviously it didn’t come off that way.”
On Thursday, Oakley told The Undefeated that he was hurt by that line in the statement, saying it was an attack on his character.
“Right there, attacking my character like that – not making it about the moment but something bigger that’s wrong with me? – I couldn’t believe it,” Oakley said. “I don’t know how you do that. I don’t.”
Oakley has defended himself since the incident, saying he was agitated when security were staring at him and then told him to leave, unprovoked.
It was reported on Friday that Oakley is barred from Madison Square Garden, but Dolan told Kay it is “not necessarily” a lifetime ban. Dolan told Kay that he wishes his relationship with Oakley was not contentious and that he could honor Oakley for his years as a Knick. He also said he would help Oakley if he asked for it.
“The first step for anybody is to ask for help.”