MANHATTAN — Knicks legend Charles Oakley was banned indefinitely from Madison Square Garden on Friday, two days after Oakley scuffled with security personnel during a game and was arrested.
Team and Garden owner James Dolan went on ESPN's Michael Kay Show, to make his first public comments since the Wednesday night fracas, and discussed the ban, which he said was necessary to protect arena staff and fans from Oakley.
"It's not necessarily a lifetime ban," Dolan said. "We are going to put the ban in place and hopefully it won't be forever."
Oakley has denied that he heckled Dolan or was abusive before he was surrounded by several security guards in the stands during the first quarter of a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. He added that that Dolan doesn't like him, and has had security personnel follow him around previous games.
Dolan said Friday that he thought Oakley was "a great Knick" and that he "loved watching Charles Oakley play basketball."
But he added that he thought Oakley had a "problem" that he needs to get addressed before he can come back to the Garden.
"He has a problem with anger, he's both physically and verbally abusive he may have a problem with alcohol, we don't know," Dolan said.
Earlier Friday, DNAinfo New York first reported that Dolan had fired his chief of security in the wake of the incident.
The incident enraged Knicks fans who have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration at the team and at the treatment of Oakley, a beloved former player who was with the team for 10 years during the 1990s.