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Madison Square Garden Security Chief Fired After Charles Oakley Incident

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: Former professional basketball player Charles Oakley attends the 2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award presentation at Espace on December 5, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Frank Benedetto, the senior vice president for security at Madison Square Garden, was reportedly fired Friday following the highly publicized clash between arena officials and former New York Knicks forward Charles Oakley on Wednesday night.

Murray Weiss of DNAinfo New York reported James Dolan, owner of both Madison Square Garden and the Knicks, made the decision to let Benedetto go.

"We don't comment on employees that have left the company," Madison Square Garden Company spokesperson Barry Watkins told DNAinfo New York.

A team official confirmed to Mike Wise of The Undefeated that Benedetto had been fired but wouldn't provide details about whether it was directly related to the Oakley situation.

The incident in question occurred midway through the first quarter of Wednesday's game between the Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers.

ESPN cameras for the nationally broadcast game panned to show Oakley surrounded by security personnel. The confrontation turned physical, and he was then led out of the seating area by a large group of arena officials.

Knicks PR released a statement on social media shortly after the chaotic situation, which concluded by saying "we hope he gets some help soon":

NY_KnicksPR @NY_KnicksPR

https://t.co/EebgCEqQxC

Meanwhile, the New York Daily News provided the timeline of the ongoing feud between Oakley and Dolan. It's noted the situation heated up in 2010 and 2011 with what's described as a "pattern of blasting the Knicks" by Oakley and elevated in February 2015 when he called Dolan a "bad guy."

AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today passed along the 53-year-old former All-Star's side of the story from an appearance on ESPN Radio. He denied causing the commotion by shouting Dolan's name and explained why it became confrontational.

"I don't let people just walk up on me, eight or nine guys. One guy, try your luck. Eight or nine guys, I've gotta brace myself and be ready for the challenge. Let me just get myself together, I don't know what can happen, because they had no right to walk up on me," Oakley said. "Send a New York cop, tell Oakley he gotta leave, escort me out the building. There was a cop there. Every time he asked me something, I did it."

Oakley was charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one of criminal trespass as a result of his actions Wednesday night, according to Margaret Hartmann of New York Magazine.

The DNAinfo New York report added Dolan "may take further action against other employees over the flap." 

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