NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Portraying Charles Oakley as someone with a history of run-ins with security guards, Knicks owner James Dolan is trying to have the former All-Star’s lawsuit against him tossed out.
According to WFAN legal analyst Amy Dash, Dolan’s attorneys told a federal judge Monday he plans to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Oakley alleges he was a victim of assault, battery, false imprisonment and slander related to his forcible removal from a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden last season.
The Feb. 8 incident between Oakley and Garden security was captured on camera and posted on social media. In it, Oakley appears to shove security guards before they pull him away from his seat.
In a three-page letter to the court, Dolan’s attorneys say that just after taking his seat, Oakley began shouting obscenities at a group of MSG security guards, calling them names like “motherf***ers” and “rat bast*rd.”
Dolan’s lawyers also accuse Oakley of having “a long, documented history of altercations with law enforcement and security personnel,” calling the MSG incident “recidivist behavior.” They cite a 2011 lawsuit in which Oakley was accused of cursing, punching, kicking and biting security guards who were trying to restrain him at Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. They also point to news articles, including one by USA Today in 2016 in which Oakley allegedly told security outside the Cleveland Cavaliers’ locker room, “Touch me, y’all see what happens.”
Oakley was arrested after the MSG incident, but in August he accepted a deal with prosecutors that would dismiss the misdemeanor assault and trespass charges if he stays out of trouble for six months and keeps away from the Garden for a year.
Oakley’s lawsuit attempts to paint the picture of Dolan harboring a strong hatred of him for years, feelings that came to a head Feb. 8.
“Within minutes of unobtrusively taking his seat, Defendant Dolan directed that security forcibly remove Mr. Oakley from the Garden and publicly embarrass him on live television,” the lawsuit says. “Adding insult to injury, Defendants proceeded to ban Mr. Oakley from the Garden indefinitely.”
Oakley also accused Dolan and MSG of maliciously making false statements that the popular ex-Knick was engaged in abusive behavior toward fans and staff during the game and that he might have a problem with alcoholism.
“By propagating these blatant lies about Mr. Oakley, Defendants Dolan and MSG have caused irreparable harm to his name and career and discriminated against him based on the false perception that he is an alcoholic, all in a transparent attempt to denigrate his standing among Knicks fans,” the lawsuit says.
The suit names Dolan, MSG Networks, The Madison Square Garden Company and MSG Sports & Entertainment as defendants.
The Madison Square Garden Company owns the Knicks. Dolan is the company’s executive chairman.
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.