Oakley says he'd rather go to jail than have Knicks act nice

By Arthur Weinstein 17 February 2017 58935
Oakley says he'd rather go to jail than have Knicks act nice

It has been three days since New York Knicks owner James Dolan agreed to lift the ban barring Charles Oakley from attending home games, but the former forward is still not happy.

Oakley was escorted from Madison Square Garden on national television, and then charged with three counts of misdemeanour assault and one count of misdemeanour trespassing, during the Knicks' NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers on February 8.

After a meeting on Monday involving Oakley, Dolan and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, with Oakley's friend Michael Jordan listening in via phone, the Knicks boss lifted the ban.

However, Oakley remains unhappy with Dolan and the Knicks.

"I'd rather go to jail and just do two or three years for my assault case and come out and be a better person," Oakley told Sports Illustrated on Thursday.

"Don't give me something now because everything is bad. That's what's wrong. We cover stuff up because of money and power. This is a people issue. People see this."

Oakley also made veiled comments comparing Dolan to disgraced former Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was forced to sell the team after he made racist comments that were caught on tape.

"This man's been around for a long time," Oakley said. "I ain't heard nothing good about him." 

In a statement, Silver said: "Both Mr. Oakley and Mr. Dolan were apologetic about the incident and subsequent comments, and their negative impact on the Knicks organisation and the NBA. Mr. Dolan expressed his hope that Mr. Oakley would return to MSG as his guest in the near future."

The incident became a public embarrassment for the Knicks, with many NBA players speaking out in support of Oakley.

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Arthur Weinstein