The New York Knicks’ drama surrounding how a February incident involving NBA legend Charles Oakley appears to be far from over.
Oakley was arrested on Feb. 8 while attending a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden following an altercation with security covering the event. He was then charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault, one count of misdemeanor aggravated harassment and one count of trespassing.
The criminal charges could be dropped, however. Oakley accepted a deal last month that will lead to the full dismissal of the charges stemming from the incident in February, pending he remains out of legal trouble for six months and does not trespass at Madison Square Garden.
That may not be the end of this saga, however. Oakley has been preparing to file a civil lawsuit in response to the situation, and those close to the situation expect it will be file shortly, according to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ian Begley.
It’s unclear whether the civil filing will be against Knicks owner James Dolan personally, or against the Madison Square Garden entity, but should Oakley file a civil suit against either it could draw out an ugly legal battle.
Oakley’s relationship with Knicks, and specifically Dolan, had been deteriorating for some time. The former Knick player has been critical of the organization, and Dolan, causing a growing rift between the sides.
“There are dozens of security staff, employees and NYPD that witnessed Oakley’s abusive behavior. It started when he entered the building and continued until he was arrested and left the building. Every single statement we have received is consistent in describing his actions. Everything he said since the incident is pure fiction,” the Knicks said in a statement following the incident.
The altercation happened during a nationally televised game, with the Knicks hosting the LA Clippers on ESPN:
Prior to the arrest, Dolan and Oakley’s rift had gotten to the point that Oakley alleges security at Madison Square Garden is tasked with informing Dolan immediately if he’s in the building.
“Whenever I go to the Garden now, security has been told to inform him immediately. Last year against Charlotte, I went to a game and a bunch of security people came up to me right away and told me not to walk around, stay where I am. He just doesn’t want me in the building,” Oakley told ESPN.
The situation between Oakley, the Knicks organization and MSG doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon, especially if civil litigation is filed by the former NBA great.