Because apparently there are no pressing issues confronting the African-American community other than a former NBA player getting removed from a basketball game by security, the Reverend Al Sharpton says he’s going to picket Madison Square Garden unless Charles Oakley is allowed back in.
In a statement released Monday, Sharpton and his National Action Network described the steps they’re willing to take if Knicks owner James Dolan does not lift his ban against former Knick Charles Oakley, saying, “Civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton is calling on New York Knicks Owner James Dolan to immediately lift the ban against Charles Oakley, after conversing with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and agreeing that the policy has not been reinforced with other players. Rev. Sharpton is calling upon Mr. Dolan to lift the ban and reinstate Mr. Oakley’s privileges. In the event that the ban is not lifted, NAN’s Northeast Regional Director Kirsten John Foy is mobilizing people to picket Madison Square Garden in solidarity.”
Several members of MSG security removed Oakley from the arena last Wednesday night. Though he claims he did nothing to warrant removal, the Knicks maintain that Oakley portrayed belligerent and abusive behavior from the moment he came into the Garden.
Though, Sharpton’s mobilization of picketers “in solidarity,” may no longer prove necessary, since an intervention spearheaded by NBA legend Michael Jordan and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appears to have made real progress in brokering a truce between Dolan and Oakley.
However, in a day and age when newspapers publish Monday morning updates featuring the number of people shot in Chicago over the weekend, with the vast majority of those victims being black, the “Rev” might want to redirect his focus elsewhere.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn