More details are starting to emerge from the now-infamous scuffle between Charles Oakley, security personnel, and police officers at Madison Square Garden, and they paint a picture that is even uglier than the video of the fight itself.
On Friday, New York Knicks owner James Dolan confirmed that Oakley has been barred from Madison Square Garden. While it was initially reported as a “lifetime ban,” Dolan said there is a chance it will eventually be lifted.
Also on Friday, the New York Post published testimony from Madison Square Garden employees. Their recollection of the night’s events allege that Oakley was aggressive and rude from the moment that he walked into the arena, that he immediately berated security upon arriving at his seats, and that his language was filled with insults, expletives, and racial accusations.
The testimony begins immediately after Oakley entered Madison Square Garden. His group is said to have entered an elevator that also contained a group that included New York Jets player Muhammad Wilkerson. According to personnel, Oakley’s tried to exit the elevator in an area they were not permitted to be.
Testimony from a person described as a “VIP Escort”:
“Oakley and his people tried to get off [at floor 3 with Wilkerson’s group], said ‘This is us. This is us. We’re with Charles. We’re going to section 7, take us there, take us there.’ Oakley said something about Dolan, can’t remember exactly what — Something like ‘I need to see him’ or ‘I’m with him.'”
A concierge described another scene in which Oakley’s group allegedly tried to force their way to an area they were not supposed to be in.
From a “concierge”:
“They were saying we can go right through here to section 7. Brett said they can’t go through here, I helped him hold people back and said yes, you can’t go through this way. They were like ‘Come on, come on.’ I then noticed Oakley towards the back of the group, heard a loud ‘Oh come on man!’ Then noticed him, a head taller than the crowd with white hair, recognised him as Charles Oakley. Tried to push their way through and were very vocal about it, were complaining when they turned back to the elevator.”
According to the testimony, the group was rejected from going to the suites and eventually escorted to their seats. According to the report, Oakley immediately started berating security and ushers and accusing them of being racist.
From a “security officer”:
“At that time he was talking with some fans. When he looked over to his left, you know how we usually have our security officers and people against the wall? He said to his friends ‘You got all these f—— security here looking at me, I don’t know what the f— they’re looking at, but they’re getting on my f—— nerves.’ At this time I look over to my left because I hear the cursing. We make eye contact. He tells me ‘What the f— are you looking at?’ All I said was ‘I’m not looking at you.’ At this time he proceeded with the curse bombs, saying f’ing this, f’ing that. When he saw Kori looking at him, he called Kori a rat bastard. He said he’s ‘always sucking on Dolan’s d—.'”
From a woman described as a “Club Seat Order Taker” who doesn’t follow basketball, and who didn’t know who Oakley was:
“As soon as he came in he sat down, ‘What the f they looking at? Why they looking at me? Where Dolan at?’ I said ‘Sir, calm down.’ [She was trying to take his order because he had mentioned to the runner something about popcorn] He said ‘Do you know who I am? Why the hell these f’n security guards in my face? Why they looking at me.’ The security guards came over and said some words. He said ‘Get out of my face.’ I didn’t communicate with him. He kept going on ‘F this one. F that one. Dolan this. Dolan that. What the hell you security guards gonna do? Yeah, you, you you,’ pointing them out.”
From a “supervisor”:
“As soon as he sits down he looks over in the direction of the corner of me, Kori and Tommy Ortiz and says ‘What the f— are you guys looking at? Watch the f—— game.’ And I think is he looking at us? Again he says ‘What the f— are you guys looking at? Watch the game.’ Kori goes over to say something to Mr. Dolan. Oakley yells ‘You’re a rat, you rat f—, you snitch.’ So then Kori goes over, after he had enough of him cursing at him and says ‘Mr Oakley, you have to leave now.’ And he goes, ‘I ain’t going anywhere.’ I go and get the paid detail. He says ‘F— you, I’m not going anywhere.’ That’s when it starts. He pushed me.”
At this point, more security approach Oakley and this is about where the video from ESPN begins and the scuffle breaks out.
From a “manager”:
“When our Event Manger (Tom Redmond) and Event Supervisor (Jayson Jacknow) went over to politely ask to speak to Charles Oakley, he stood up and said he was not leaving. At that time they tried to reason with him and asked if he would come with them. After he repeated he was not leaving Charles took an aggressive step towards Tom Redmond and got into his face.”
From a “security officer”:
“He as making a lot of comments in general out loud. Like racist, we’re going against him because of his colour, he was being discriminated against, we were singling him out. He was very paranoid that we were standing there. When we had him at the top of the ramp he was making comments, regarding white and black.”
Oakley was finally removed from the floor area. This is approximately where the ESPN video ends. A “manager” accuses Oakley of making racially charged comments and berating police officers. The testimony also says that Oakley rejected Phil Jackson and a call from Michael Jordan.
From a “manager”:
“Once we were able to finally get Charles to the back of house he was saying things like: ‘This is all Dolan, I didn’t do nothing. This is some bullshit, All of you suck Dolan’s d—.’ At this point Phil [Jackson] came out to talk to him and he was still very angry and didn’t seem to want to talk to anyone … Charles was making statements: ‘All you whites over there get your story straight. Why don’t you have some brothers over there with you? F— all you white boys. Yeah make sure you all get your story straight, because there’s going to be riots in this city, cameras don’t lie. F— you police. I used to respect you but now I don’t have no respect for you mother f——.’ At one point we told Charles that Michael Jordan was on the phone and wanted to speak to him. ‘I don’t want to speak to Mike. He’s my brother. This has nothing to do with him. I want to talk to Dolan.’ He continued to say, ‘That we all just suck Dolan’s d—” and how this is ‘some bullshit.'”
Oakley’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.