An ugly scene unfolded at the New York Knicks-Los Angeles Clippers game Wednesday night, as former Knicks forward Charles Oakley got into a physical altercation with security and was ejected.
Midway through the first quarter, play stopped as an incident occurred between Oakley and security.
Oakley was shown shouting at several men and pushing them, before being taken out of the game and later arrested.
It was reported that Oakley was going after Knicks owner James Dolan, with whom he has a contentious relationship, and was blaming Dolan for the incident as he was being arrested.
However, after the game, Oakley spoke to New York Daily News’ Frank Isola and said the incident was unprovoked.
“[Security guards] were staring at me,” said Oakley, who was sitting two rows behind Dolan. “They asked me to leave and I said I’m not leaving.”
The Knicks released a statement shortly after the incident, saying Oakley acted “highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner.” They added he was a “great Knick” and they hope he “gets help.”
Oakley denied saying anything to Dolan or acting in an abusive manner. According to the New York Times’ Mike Vorkunov, witnesses to the incident said Oakley didn’t do anything inappropriate.
“Oakley seemed to utter something to the guard when he walked by, according to T. J. Veenstra, who was sitting behind Oakley.
“A guard soon came over to Oakley and asked him to leave. Oakley asked why.
“‘He just couldn’t understand why,’ said Matthew Barbara, who sat a few rows up from Oakley. ‘We didn’t see him throw a punch or do anything. He wasn’t nasty to any of the people behind him. We’re trying to figure out what happened.'”
According to the Times, police said Oakley was charged with three accounts of third-degree assault and one account of criminal trespass.
It was an ugly scene for all sides, and one that is unlikely to help the reportedly broken relationship between Oakley, a fan-favourite when he was with the Knicks for ten years, and Dolan. It also adds another layer of unpleasantness to a Knicks season in which they’re quickly falling out of the playoff picture while their best player and president feud.
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