Charles Oakley’s ejection from Madison Square Garden during a February 2017 Knicks game occurred at the direction of MSG executive chairman and chief executive officer James Dolan, Oakley’s attorneys said in a new court filing on Thursday.
The attorneys cited video evidence that was described in court papers as internal Garden footage. According to the 50-page filing, the video shows Dolan signaling to a security guard and making a “very clear gesture with his right hand, bringing it from his head and pointing it towards the ground” to the guard “seconds before” other security guards approached Oakley in the crowd.
Following Oakley’s ejection, the video shows Dolan giving a thumbs-up gesture to the security guards, according to the court papers.
Oakley is suing MSG and Dolan in Manhattan federal court for defamation and slander for comments made following the former player’s televised scuffle with MSG security during a Knicks-Clippers game on ESPN.
“Today’s claims are nothing more than Oakley’s latest attempt to distract from the real reasons why he was ejected,” MSG said in a statement. “We like the videos — they show what actually happened, which is why Oakley’s lawyer continues to fight to exclude them from the court case. As opposed to the edited and manipulated video posted by Oakley’s counsel, we filed the entire unedited video with the Court months ago. As we’ve stated before, we believe this suit has no merit and should be dismissed.”
An MSG spokeswoman also provided Newsday with video clips that contradict Oakley’s account.
Thursday’s filing by Oakley’s attorneys was in response to MSG and Dolan’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.
MSG had asked U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan on March 30 to throw out Oakley’s civil lawsuit because “Oakley’s removal and arrest were the inevitable consequence of his own actions that night. He has no one to blame but himself.”
The court filing said: “Nowhere is there evidence that he was acting as belligerently as Defendants falsely claim.”
MSG will get a chance to respond to Oakley’s contention in a new court filing before Sullivan decides whether Oakley’s lawsuit continues.