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‘I’m not banned from New York’: Former Knick Charles Oakley responds to MSG ban (PIX11 Exclusive)

Posted at 4:12 PM, Feb 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-11 15:03:30-05

NEW YORK — Former Knick Charles Oakley said Friday night though he's banned from Madison Square Garden following a shoving match during a game, he isn't banned from New York.

"I love New York and I love the fans," Oakley told PIX11 News exclusively. "They made me here in New York."

"But I'm not banned from New York though, that's more important," Oakley told PIX11's Mario Diaz.

Oakley told PIX11 News he never talked to team owner James Dolan and "never shook his hand," despite reports. He did not answer when asked if he would talk to Dolan in the future.

At the Garden, fans were heard yelling, "Free Oakley" in the background, a phrase that went viral just after the ban went into effect. Some even wore "Free Oakley" shirts to the game.

Dolan confirmed Oakley was banned following a scuffle earlier this week in an interview with ESPN Radio's Michael Kay on Friday.

The team owner also said he had fired the Garden's security chief, two nights after Oakley was forcefully removed from his seat and arrested at a Knicks game.

Dolan said the firing of the security head stemmed from more than just the handling of the Oakley incident.

"We are going to put the ban in place and hopefully it won't be forever," Dolan said, adding that the games must remain safe for fans.

Oakley was escorted from his seats at Madison Square Garden and arrested after an altercation that happened near Dolan during the first quarter of the Knicks' game against the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night.

Oakley appeared to shove security guards before they pulled him away from his seat behind the baseline.

The Washington Post reported the altercation started with Oakley insulting Dolan. Oakley is known to have a strained relationship with the team, because of his criticism of Dolan's leadership.

The Knicks distributed a witness report earlier Friday featuring more than a dozen witnesses from throughout the arena who described what the Knicks have called Oakley's "abusive" behavior.

The New York Knicks released the following statement after the incident:

“Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner,” the Knicks said in a statement. “He has been ejected and is currently being arrested by the New York City Police Department. He was a great Knick and we hope he gets some help.”

"There are dozens of security staff, employees and NYPD that witnessed Oakley's abusive behavior," the statement read. "It started when he entered the building and continued until he was arrested and left the building. Every single statement we have received is consistent in describing his actions. Everything he said since the incident is pure fiction."

The Associated Press reported that fans shouted "Oakley! Oakley!" in defense of the popular power forward, who helped the Knicks reach the NBA Finals during his years on the court for the team, between 1988 and 1998.

Oakley was escorted out of the building, arrested and charged with three counts of assault and one count of criminal trespassing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.