Charles Oakley Has Filed A Civil Lawsuit Against James Dolan For That MSG Brawl In February
ESPN- Former New York Knicks forward Charles Oakley filed a civil suit Tuesday morning in response to a February run-in with security at Madison Square Garden and the incident’s aftermath. Oakley’s civil suit names Knicks owner James Dolan, Madison Square Garden Company and MSG Sports & Entertainment and includes several causes of action, including defamation, libel and slander. It requests an award of damages to be determined at trial by a jury to compensate Oakley for emotional distress and/or mental anguish and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. Oakley’s attorney, Alex Spiro, has stated in the past that for Oakley, the issues stemming from the incident at Madison Square Garden and its fallout have always been a matter of principle.
Oakley was arrested after a run-in with MSG security on Feb. 8 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 noncriminal violations. Cameras on the night of the incident showed Oakley hitting and shoving Madison Square Garden security members as they attempted to remove him from his seat. Oakley was then physically removed by the arena’s security staff. The Garden released witness statements from a dozen employees who encountered Oakley that night and alleged that he was physically and verbally abusive. Shortly after the incident, Dolan suggested that Oakley had an alcohol problem and anger management issues.
In the civil suit, Oakley alleges that Dolan, Madison Square Garden Company and MSG Sports & Entertainment committed defamation and libel by publicly accusing him of committing assault and stating publicly that he suffers from alcoholism. It also alleges that the defendants’ statements were slanderous. The suit, filed by attorneys Douglas Wigdor, Renan Varghese and Alex Hartzband, also alleges assault, battery, false imprisonment and abuse of process. In addition, the suit alleges that the defendants violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New York State Human Rights Law by denying Oakley access to Madison Square Garden based on their perception that he suffers from alcoholism.
“Whether it was because of resentment for Mr. Oakley’s passionate following among Knicks fans, anger that Mr. Oakley would not ‘kiss the ring’ of the heir to the Madison Square Garden empire, or petty insecurities driven by his own personal demons, Defendant Dolan constantly disrespected Mr. Oakley, refusing to make eye contact or shake his hand during meetings, denying him the type of fan appreciation nights given to much less popular and successful members of the Knicks, and even making him purchase his own tickets to attend games at the arena he called home for a decade,” the suit states.
Uh oh, little Jimmy Dolan done fucked up huh? I guess you can’t keep blindly calling people alcoholics without sprinkling in an “alleged” in there or claiming parody law. Tough break, Jaaaaaaames.
Now I’m sure Dolan will wheel out a dream team for his defense. Robert Shapiro, Jackie Chiles, Mr. Burns’ blue-haired lawyer are all probably on retainer for a guy that has supervillain money to match his reputation. But Dolan might as well start writing the check out now, because I have a hard time believing that there are 12 people in the great state of New York that won’t rule in favor of one of the most beloved players in Knicks history. And for anyone that doesn’t know or like the Knicks, I’m sure they will be scared straight while in the presence of the baddest motherfucker on the planet. I have been avoiding jury duty in the city like the plague and filing for postponements every time I get that dreaded blue envelope. Not because I don’t want to do my civil duty, but because I’d rather do it in my small little town than in a court room 2.5 hours away. But if I could be guaranteed a seat in the jurors box for the Oakley trial, I would gladly sleep in a podcast room at Barstool HQ for as long as it takes just so I could hook the Oakman up with a slice of Jimmy’s trust fund while giving Dolan the ol’ Commodus treatment right to his frumpy face.
Sure it won’t be enough for Oakley to buy the Knicks. But maybe it would help spur Dolan to think about actually selling the team. And if not, at least it’s a few more bucks out of his pocket. A loss for Dolan is a win for Knicks fans around the globe.
As for Oak’s charges that Dolan treated him differently because he didn’t kiss the ring, I think that was proven true when VIN FUCKING BAKER was honored with a bunch of those other Knicks during the impromptu celebration of ex-Knicks that just happened to be when the Knicks were getting absolutely lambasted in the court of public opinion. Dolan probably offered to buy 10 pounds of coffee from whatever Starbucks Baker was working at in exchange for his ass to sit in a seat at MSG. James Dolan has always appeared to be the rich kid that will only let you play with his toys if you were extra nice to him. Nobody ever liked that kid, regardless of how many people were hanging out at his house. Here’s to hoping Charles Oakley is a little richer and James Dolan is a little poorer by the time this is all said and done.
P.S. A little hat tip to Oak’s lawyers for referencing the Americans With Disabilities Act for that alcoholism stuff. Put Oak in a pair of reading glasses and Dolan’s cash is as good as his.