Charles Oakley After MSG Arrest: ‘I Didn’t Say Anything’ To Knicks Owner James Dolan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Knicks great Charles Oakley insists he didn’t accost the team’s owner, James Dolan, just before he was forcibly removed from Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

Oakley was arrested and charged with three counts of assault and trespassing.

“I was there for four minutes,” Oakley told the New York Daily News after being released from the Midtown South police station. “I didn’t say anything to him. I swear on my mother. 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.”

In another interview, posted on ESPN.com, Oakley said he asked one security guard why he was being asked to leave. “He said, ‘To be honest, you have to leave because someone ordered you to leave,'” Oakley said.

As CBS2’s Otis Livingston explained, there are different reports of what really happened on Wednesday night.

LISTEN: Oakley Discusses Strained Relationship With Dolan On Boomer & Carton

Sources told CBS2 the altercation with security followed comments Oakley made to Dolan.

The Knicks released a statement Thursday saying there are dozens of security employees, staff and police who witnessed Oakley’s “abusive behavior” before he was told to leave.

“It started when he entered the building and continued until he was arrested and left the building,” the statement said. “Every single statement we have received is consistent in describing his actions. Everything he said since the incident is pure fiction.”

On video posted to social media, Oakley appeared to shove security guards before they pulled him away from his seat behind the baseline during the first quarter of the Knicks’ game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Sources say the former fan favorite refused to leave, and instead hit one employee in the face with a closed fist, causing swelling to the face.

Two other employees received minor cuts to their hands while attempting to remove Oakley, according to sources.

All three victims refused medical attention.

Oakley was handcuffed near an arena exit as he waited for police to arrive.

In the ESPN interview, Oakley said the incident escalated because he felt threatened.

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“Somebody walking up on you, you’ve got to protect yourself in all matters,” he said. “And I’ve been in situations like that before. So I’ve been jumped before. So in my mind, I was thinking if you see seven, eight, nine, 10 guys walking up on you, you’ve got to brace yourself and be ready for the challenge.”

Oakley played for the Knicks from 1988 until 1998, helping them reach the 1994 NBA Finals alongside Patrick Ewing, John Starks, the late Anthony Mason and head coach Pat Riley. But he has a poor relationship with the team because of his criticisms of Dolan, the Madison Square Garden chairman.

Oakley said he’s not sure if he’ll ever be welcome back to the Garden but that he’ll always cheer for his former team.

“As long as the fans care about me, I love the fans, and I’m always going to love the fans,” he said. “I’m a Knicks fan for life. No matter if I go back to the Garden or not, I ‘m still going to cheer for the Knicks because I played here for a decade. My heart and soul are here.”

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