Knicks Win (in Court over Charles Oakley): What now?

Howard Megdal

A judge in the Southern District New York court ruled that Charles Oakley's lawsuit against James Dolan and Madison Square Garden would not go forward, saying that Oakley "has failed to allege a plausible legal claim" in the decision on Wednesday.

The Garden put out a statement as intriguing as it was brief, saying this: "We thank the court for its ruling. This was an incident that no one was happy about. Maybe now there can be peace between us."

It is that last sentence that is striking, seemingly an invitation to bring the long-simmering battle between Oakley and Dolan to a close. 

The court's ruling, of course, does not speak to the wisdom of having one of New York's most iconic players removed from Madison Square Garden, merely to the legality of it.

And with the Knicks clearly looking to strike a different tone with the team's brand, returning Oakley, still a figure respected throughout the league, into the fold would help push into the past the franchise's rocky recent relationship with what many view as the high road.

The judge in the case said this as well: "This case has had the feel of a public relations campaign, with the parties seemingly more interested in the court of public opinion than the merits of their legal arguments."

If that is the case, it would behoove the Knicks to invite Charles Oakley back to The Garden with great haste. The Yankees, and Yogi Berra, offer a pathway from history.