Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Knicks consultant Steve Stoute said on Tuesday that he'd "love" owner James Dolan and ex-Knick Charles Oakley to reconcile, and for Oakley to return to Madison Square Garden.
"Listen, I would love to see that thing. As a New York fan, as a friend of Charles Oakley, as somebody a part of the Knicks organization, of course I would love to see that subsided and bring that back," Stoute said on ESPN's First Take on Tuesday. "Charles Oakley is a very big part of New York. He's a fabric of what the New York Knicks have stood for for many years -- that toughness, resourcefulness, by-any-means-necessary attitude."
Stoute and his company, Translation, were hired to help redefine the team's brand and their ties to the fan base. He has been influential with Dolan since being hired. Stoute, who admittedly overstepped his bounds when talking about the Knicks coaching situation on Tuesday, said he's known Oakley for years.
Given the bad history between Oakley and Dolan, it would be quite a coup if Stoute could help mend the relationship and get Oakley back in Madison Square Garden.
One of the most popular players in the franchise's recent history, Oakley hasn't been in the Knicks' home arena since a 2017 run-in with security that resulted in criminal charges for Oakley, and a civil suit filed on Oakley's behalf against Dolan and Madison Square Garden.
Here are the details of the original incident: Oakley was arrested after a run-in with MSG security on Feb. 8, 2017 and charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault, one misdemeanor count of aggravated harassment and one misdemeanor count of trespassing. He was also cited for two additional counts of harassment that are considered non-criminal violations.
Oakley publicly denied any wrongdoing on the night of the incident, saying he was unfairly removed from the building.
He subsequently accepted a deal -- an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal -- that led to the criminal charges being dropped. The deal was contingent on Oakley's compliance with several stipulations, including one that stated that he not "trespass" at Madison Square Garden for a one-year period.
MSG released footage on the night of the incident that showed Oakley hitting and shoving arena security members as they attempted to remove him from his seat. Oakley was then physically removed by the arena's security staff.
After the incident, the Garden released witness statements from a dozen employees who encountered Oakley that night and alleged that he was physically and verbally abusive. Oakley's civil suit alleges that some statements were misrepresented by the defendants and some statements that supported Oakley's version of events were "silenced."
Shortly after the incident, Dolan suggested that Oakley had an alcohol problem and anger management issues.
Dolan initially banned Oakley from Madison Square Garden after the incident, but lifted the ban days later.
In the civil suit, which remains active, Oakley alleged that Dolan, Madison Square Garden Company, and MSG Sports & Entertainment committed defamation by publicly accusing him of committing assault and stating publicly that he suffers from alcoholism. It referred to the defendants' statements in the aftermath of the incident as a "coordinated" and "defamatory" public relations campaign and alleged, among other things, that Oakley was treated like a "common criminal" during the incident at MSG.
Oakley played for the Knicks from 1988 to 1998 and helped them reach the 1994 NBA Finals. He has had a poor relationship with the team and Dolan in recent years, thanks in part to his criticisms of the organization and its owner.