Abuse of Charles Oakley Sums Up Dolan's and Knicks' Dysfunction

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Oakley has seen much better days.

Wednesday’s arrest of Charles Oakley is another ominous example that serious trouble is engulfing this Knicks organization that is being run by General Manager Phil Jackson—and owner James Dolan, who it seems has some kind of ongoing beef with Oakley.

The arrest of a former hard-nosed player like Oakley, during a game between the Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers, is ironic given the anemic feel of the current Knicks team which is underachieving badly—amid internal drama between Phil Jackson and star player Carmelo Anthony. What happened between Dolan and Oakley that led to Oakley’s arrest? Could it be Oakley’s arrest has something to do with his displeasure about the free-fall of this Knicks organization into the laughingstock of the NBA?

On a video, that is has now gone viral, Charles Oakley is seen surrounded by multiple security—including New York Police Department (NYPD) officers. At one point, Oakley can be seen putting his finger into one of their faces. The next minute he is seen telling another security person to get off of him as he pushes that person away; not long after, he is wrestled out of the arena and placed under arrest for three counts of assault.

Too be fair, we must say Oakley definitely lost his cool—and shouldn’t have put his finger in the face of that security officer. That said, we can’t help wondering this: what’s going on inside this Knicks organization which is now faced with this public relations nightmare? How could relations between this organization and one of its most-beloved former players deteriorate to this point?

Some statements by the Knicks public relations people are indicative of the Knicks’s dysfunction. In an early press release after the altercation, a Knicks’ statement read in part: "He is a great Knick and we hope he gets help soon." This statement obviously insinuates that Oakley is mentally unstable. Even assuming this is true, don’t the Knicks realize they should be the main ones getting him help given all Oakley has done to bring dignity to this franchise that is now a shell of its former self?
This snide remark by the Knicks makes them look like what they apparently are: clueless.  It makes us wonder whether it's Dolan who needs help. Oakley has already apologized to the fans for his behavior on Wednesday.

"Well, first of all I want to say I'm sorry to all the fans of the Garden, all the fans," Oakley said Thursday on ESPN's Stephen A. Smith radio show. "It was just a bad scene. I love New York; gave my whole heart. I walked into the Garden, simply I was there four minutes. I was talking to people. One of the guys said someone is watching you. They have to tell Dolan anytime I walk into the Garden. Then I'm told I have to leave. Orders you have to leave the building."
Shouldn't the Garden and Dolan apologize as well?

MSG says Oakley is lying about his main charge: that he is not welcomed in the arena where he played with his heart and soul every game, for ten seasons—something that is anathema to the current crop of bumbling Knicks. Not many people are going to believe Dolan and the Knicks management. Too many other failures are plaguing this franchise for that. Many players have already rendered their verdict of who is guilty here—and it isn’t Oakley.

Chicago Bulls’ star Dwayne Wade, on his Instagram account said “10 years Oak gave everything he had for this organization and the image everyone will be left with--will be the imagine of him being taking down to the ground last night in the same arena he gave his all 2 as a player by the guards!”
Los Angeles Clippers’ star Chris Paul tweeted: "Hope that he gets some help soon? Not the right way to portray Oak...always had my back and the realest person our league has seen #UncleOak."

Former player Stephen Jackson ripped into the Knicks saying "If the Knicks and their organization had as much heart and as much passion as Oak did, then they probably wouldn't be so (bleeping) terrible. But that shows you the type of league this is: 'what have you done for me lately' league. He did all this playing, (brought) all that heart to the Knicks all those years, now they want to disrespect him."

Then there is what former Knicks nemesis, and current NBA analyst, Reggie Miller said on Twitter. “If you're a FA (free agent) to be, why would you play for an Owner who treats the past greats like this or a President who stabs star player in the back?”

Miller’s last comment is in reference to the bizarre situation Carmelo Anthony finds himself in. He is being smeared in a sinister way by Knicks president Phil Jackson; first in an article by an acolyte and then a tweet by Jackson himself. Apparently, the “Zen Master” has lost his Zen. Ironically, Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks were doing better before Jackson came along. It is now becoming clear that the talents Jackson showed for years as coach are non-existent as team president.

Jackson is now taking the easy way out by trying to portray Anthony as the sole reason for the Knicks’s troubles. Ironically, those who often talk about basketball as being a team game like to find one scapegoat when the team struggles--then it's a one-person problem. Carmelo Anthony is one of the best scorers the NBA has ever had; but he is often blamed because of the struggles of the current Knicks.

What is the reason why no one has won an NBA championship at Madison Square Garden since 1973? Do those blaming Carmelo remember all of the great coaches—including several who are in the Hall of Fame—who weren’t able to win a championship in this arena? The names include: Pat Riley, Hubie Brown, Larry Brown, Rick Pitino, Lenny Wilkens and Don Nelson. 

Therefore, shouldn’t any real analysis of why it is so hard to win in Madison Square Garden take these things into consideration—especially, since Phil Jackson may be in the process of writing his name onto this list?

The Charles Oakley situation is yet the latest example that everything is now going terribly wrong inside the Knicks organization.

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