Knicks owner James Dolan has fired the head of security at the Madison Square Garden Arena (MSG) after an on-screen brawl erupted on Wednesday between former Knicks forward Charles Oakley and security guards during the televised game.
DNAInfo reported on Friday that the arena’s top security chief, Frank Benedetto, has been fired.
The move comes just days after Oakley engaged in a pushing and shoving match with security personnel during a Knicks’ game on Wednesday.
Oakley allegedly shouting expletives at Dolan. He was arrested and escorted by police off the court and was later charged by NYPD with three counts of assault and one count of criminal trespass, reports USA Today.
“I’m [not going to] walk into a place and just start hollering out, ‘James Dolan, James Dolan,'” said Oakley, who has been at odds with Dolan for years. “That’s embarrassing, man. I did not do none of that. I didn’t know [Dolan] was sitting in front of me at first until [the security guards] walked over there.”
The Knicks gave this statement immediately following the incident:
“Charles Oakley came to the game tonight and behaved in a highly inappropriate and completely abusive manner.” They added, “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 soon.”
After being released from police custody, Oakley maintained he did nothing wrong and that he hadn’t said a word to Dolan.
Yahoo! Sports reports:
On Thursday, after Oakley had been released by police, he gave multiple interviews insisting he hadn’t said a word to Dolan, whom Oakley says has refused to speak or meet with him over the years about the possibility of returning to the franchise in some capacity and had done nothing to warrant encircling by MSG security prior to tempers flaring and the situation erupting into physicality. (It’s worth noting that fan-shot video published Thursday by the New York Post seems to indicate that the eruption came only after Oakley fell to the ground while one of the several security guards crowding him held his left arm.)
When asked by reporters to comment on the dismissal of Benedetto, Madison Square Garden spokesman Barry Watkins said, “We don’t comment on employees that have left the company.”
Before his security role at MSG, Benedetto served 27 years with the U.S. Secret Service, including acting as a special agent for “24/7 protection of President Obama’s Chicago residence,” according to his LinkedIn profile.
H/T: USA Today
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