Almost a week later, we’re still not sure what to make of Charles Oakley’s arrest at Madison Square Garden. Was he guilty? Was he innocent? Was he out of line? Was James Dolan out of line?
“We don’t know who’s telling the truth,” Fox Sports 1 NBA analyst Chris Broussard said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “He denied doing anything. He said he was embarrassed. He said he just walked in and he was at his seat and the next thing he knows, they’re ordering him out. So I don’t know. . . . If he wasn’t saying anything derogatory to Dolan, then I think he was done wrong. If he was yelling expletives and yelling sexual- and racial-type stuff to Dolan, then obviously Dolan was in his right to have security escort him out. But again, Charles swears that he wasn’t. So that’s really what it depends on.”
Several witnesses claim that Oakley was acting out of line before Dolan ordered security to get involved, but every “witness” was an employee of Madison Square Garden – meaning Dolan signs their checks.
“That makes it a bit dubious,” Broussard said.
Ultimately, Broussard believes that video will surface to either confirm or deny what Oakley did – or didn’t do.
“Madison Square Garden is probably one of the most videotaped places in New York City,” Broussard said. “There’s got to be videos. I think it’ll definitely all come out, and that’s when we’ll see what the truth really is. And look, Oakley, he’s not a hero. He’s not a saint. He shouldn’t have hit the security guard the way he did. But James Dolan is to blame for this situation overall and ultimately – and that’s really what this boils down to. The fans are totally siding with Oakley. This is a bad PR look for the Knicks. They tried to clean it up by bringing out Latrell Sprewell, Larry Johnson and Bernard King and all those guys on Sunday, but everybody saw right through that. They got to get this thing worked out.”
Broussard believes that Oakley needs to take accountability as well and stop publicly criticizing Dolan as harshly as he has over the years.
“I do think they’ll work this thing out eventually, but right now it’s an ugly look for the Knicks,” Broussard said. “Because players around the league, free agents, maybe even some of the Knicks players themselves (are paying attention). God forbid Kristaps Porzingis is looking at this and saying, ‘Man, do I really want to be a part of this? The way they’re treating Oakley and, more importantly, Carmelo Anthony?”
Speaking of Anthony, the NBA trade deadline is Feb. 23. Broussard doesn’t think Anthony, who is averaging 23.2 points and 6.1 rebounds, is going anywhere.
“Look, anything can happen, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to move him before the trade deadline,” Broussard said. “For Cleveland and the Clippers, it’s such a complicated deal. Not only do you have to get a third and maybe a fourth team involved because you don’t want to give up Kevin Love or Blake Griffin, but you also have to make the salaries match – and that is the big thing. When you’re talking about role players or guys that aren’t superstars, you’ve really got to piece together a lot to make those salaries work for all three or four teams. I think he’ll be there. Of course, there’s no guarantee he waives his trade clause. So I do think he’ll be there, and that’s another thing Dolan has to work out. He needs to sit Phil and Melo down and say, ‘Work this thing out. Stop going public with it, Phil. We got to decide to move on together as star player and president.’”
Dolan has pledged to not get involved with personnel matters, but he may need to rethink that.
“You need to be involved at this stage with this situation,” Broussard said. “There are other things you need to stay out of, but this you need to get involved in and shut it down.”