Former New York Knicks basketball star Charles Oakley has filed a lawsuit against team owner James Dolan, stemming from Oakley's forcible, televised removal from a game at Madison Square Garden in February.
While Dolan allegedly let other retired former Knicks come to games for free, Oakley claims he has always had to pay his own way. Oakley had been banned from MSG by Dolan following the incident, but that ban was short-lived as it seemed cooler heads had prevailed at the time.
Oakley's case arose from the February 8 ejection of the 19-year National Basketball Association veteran from his courtside seat at a Knicks game, after a run-in with security.
"As if their public mistreatment of Mr. Oakley was not embarrassing and shameful enough, over the ensuing days defendants Dolan and (Madison Square Garden) launched a co-ordinated and defamatory public relations campaign against Mr. Oakley, baselessly accusing him of abusing fans and staff, acting inappropriately and struggling with alcoholism", according to the lawsuit.
In August, Oakley accepted an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal that would see the criminal charges dropped if he complies without "trespassing" at MSG for one year and stays out of trouble for six months.
Though Oakley maintains he was minding his own business before being approached by security, Dolan claimed Oak was behaving in a "highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner". We've said it before; he's his own worst problem.
Oakley's complaint says that he doesn't know what brought on the animosity that's allegedly been directed towards him, but that it goes back for many years.
"However, as he did throughout his playing career, Mr. Oakley has refused to walk to the bench in shame", it adds, saying he was suing to set the record straight and hold the defendants responsible for "reprehensible conduct".
When he got back to his feet, the security guards loudly reiterated their demand that Mr. Oakley leave the Garden immediately, despite the fact that he had done nothing wrong.
"Since Defendant Dolan became chairman of the Knicks, they nearly immediately relinquished their status as one of the NBA's premiere teams, winning only a single lone playoff series since the turn of the century", the suit reads.
"This is a frivolous lawsuit and nothing more than another attempt by Mr. Oakley to garner attention".