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Oakley accepts plea deal in Madison Square Garden dust-up


New York (AFP)

Former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley accepted a plea deal on Friday to dismiss misdemeanor charges stemming from his run-in with Madison Square Garden security personnel during a Knicks game in February.

Oakley was arrested and charged with five misdemeanors -- two for assault, two for harassment and one for trespassing -- in the altercation in which security physically removed him from the NBA team's arena.

The fracas was the eruption of a long-simmering feud between Oakley and Knicks owner James Dolan and became a hot topic in the league as players condemned the team's treatment of their 53-year-old former star.

Oakley admitted no wrongdoing in the plea agreement, but agreed to stay away from Madison Square Garden for one year.

If Oakley adheres to the ban and stays out of trouble for six months, the charges will be dismissed.

It's the same deal that Oakley rejected in June, when he requested a trial.

"Like I said from day one I wasn't wrong," Oakley said Friday after taking the deal in Manhattan Criminal Court. "Why keep wasting time? Let's try to keep the streets better for kids instead of going to court."

Oakley played 10 seasons for the Knicks from 1988-98 and was a fan favorite. In recent years, he was been highly critical of the organization and that helped ignite the dispute with Dolan.

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