Former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley accused team owner James Dolan of orchestrating an attack on him, according to court documents. obtained by The Athletic.
Oakley has been a longtime critic of Dolan, an incredibly unpopular figure among many Knicks fans who believe he has mismanaged the team for years. In February 2017, security personnel expelled Oakley from a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. Dolan claimed that Oakley had been taunting him from a nearby seat. The Knicks later expelled their former player from Madison Square Garden and issued a statement that said “we hope [Oakley] get help soon, ”implying, without foundation, that Oakley had a problem with alcohol.
Dolan later fired the head of security at Madison Square Garden for the incident.
Oakley, who played for the Knicks from 1988 to 1998, filed a civil lawsuit in September 2017, accusing Dolan of defamation and security personnel of assault, battery and false imprisonment. The case was thrown out earlier this year, but Oakley appealed the decision and in documents obtained by The Athletic, it says Dolan planned an “assault” against him.
“After filing the Amended Complaint (in 2018), the Plaintiff took possession of evidence showing that Mr. Dolan also engaged in conduct sufficient to be held liable for the assault and battery at issue in this case,” the statement reads court documents.
Specifically, Plaintiff learned the following about the moments before and after the alleged assault and battery: During a break in play, while Plaintiff was not acting in a boisterous manner, Mr. Dolan, after looking at Plaintiff, called and consulted with a security guard; that guard then walked away and joined a group of about ten other security guards who had gathered at the side of the pitch. “
The Knicks, Dolan and Madison Square Garden say Oakley was the culprit in the clash with security personnel and rejected the former player’s claims in a statement to The Athletic.
“All claims against Jim Dolan have been dismissed … so we hope that the court will again find this latest attempt completely unsubstantiated,” the statement read.
Oakley isn’t the only high-profile Knicks fan who has faced Dolan. Earlier this year, before Covid-19 closed Madison Square Garden to fans, film director Spike Lee said he would no longer attend home games for the remainder of the 2019-20 season after facing off with security personnel for the use of an elevator.
Lee said he had been using an employee ticket for more than two decades as a season ticket holder. The Knicks wanted him to use the entrance to the celebrity arena, which is two blocks away. “I’m being bullied by James Dolan and I don’t know why,” he said.
After the incident with Lee, Oakley compared Dolan’s management style to a “plantation.”
“It is a plantation there. It’s bad, ”Oakley said. “People don’t want to talk about it. It’s very bad there. “
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