The head of security operations at Madison Square Garden was fired on Friday, February 10, following days of controversial press coverage centered around the arena's ousting of former team favorite Charles Oakley.
Former U.S. Secret Service agent Frank Benedetto was let go only six months after joining the organization. News of his release comes on the same day Dolan banned Oakley, citing concerns for the safety of fans. With 27-years of experience to his name, Benedetto was brought on board with an impressive resume, which included stints overseeing security for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The Knicks have not put out a statement on the nature of their decision to cut ties with Benedetto. Their decision to go in a different direction likely has to do with concerns over the manner in which the Oakley confrontation played out, in light of what is looking to wind up being a case that goes to court. According to Oakley, he wasn't at the game for more than four minutes, when he was swarmed by a group of agents insisting that he show himself to the exit. Oakley wound up having to be restrained by 15 men after he pushed one member of the Knicks security, and chopped down on the arm of an employee attempting to grab him.
Oakley was arrested and charged with assault and trespassing. In spite of the optics of recordings that show the incident as it unfolded on the part of an aggressive Oakley, he's received support from numerous players around the league. Many with insight into the contentious history between Oakley and Dolan believe he may have been standing up for himself, while reports from witnesses on the ground indicate that he had created an uncomfortable atmosphere by verbally attacking members of the Knicks brass.
During an appearance on the Michael Kay show early Friday, Dolan suggested that alcohol may have played a part in Oakley's supposed behavior. The assumption that Oakley has a drinking problem is consistent with a line from the Knicks' official statement on the altercation, which urged that the former Knick get help. Oakley responded to the assertion by calling it a "slap in the face."