The Charles Oakley vs. the Knicks saga is over. For now.
As reported by ESPN’s Ian Begley, the former Knicks star accepted a plea deal Friday over a Feb. 8 fracas at Madison Square Garden that was sparked when security guards tried to eject him from the arena following a verbal altercation between Oakley and team/stadium owner James Dolan during a game against the Clippers (Oakley had purchased his own ticket).
Charles Oakley shoves Madison Square Garden security and is escorted out of the building in strange scene pic.twitter.com/lTphvnSzFV
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 9, 2017
Oakley, a fan favorite in New York, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of assault, one misdemeanor count of aggravated harassment and one misdemeanor count of trespassing. Under the terms of his plea deal, the charges will be dropped if he stays out of trouble for six months and stays away from MSG completely for one year.
Dolan, not a fan favorite in New York, originally barred Oakley from the arena after the incident, a stay-away order that was rescinded days later after Dolan was heavily criticized for suggesting that Oakley has alcohol and anger-management issues.
The second time’s the charm, apparently: Begley reports that Oakley was offered nearly the same plea deal in early June, an offer Oakley rejected with the intention of fighting the charges in court. But now he’s on board because, he said Friday, he didn’t want to waste taxpayers’ money with a trial.
“Like I said from Day One, I wasn’t wrong,” Oakley said.
But Friday’s proceedings might just be the beginning: Oakley’s attorney said his client “will be pursuing all civil remedies against Mr. Dolan based on this incident,” though he didn’t go into specifics.
The plea deal “shows that nobody thought he did anything wrong,” attorney Alex Spiro said, according tot he New York Daily News. “It reaffirms what everybody has always thought which was that the Garden was wrong in how they treated him, and he doesn’t need a trial to prove that because the judge just ordered it.”