OAKLAND – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Exchange) – Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who earlier this week said New York Knicks owner James Dolan used “slave master mentality” toward Charles Oakley, clarified his comments “came off the wrong way.” Green originally made his comments on his “Dray Day” podcast on Uninterrupted, criticizing Dolan for his role after Oakley’s arrest initially led to the Knicks legend being banned from Madison Square Garden. Green clarified his earlier comments to ESPN.
“Number one, I never said James Dolan has a slave master mentality,” Green told ESPN Radio’s “Meet The All-Stars” show that will air Saturday. “I said when you look at something and someone is doing something for someone and all of a sudden they can’t anymore, that falls under the slave mentality. … I can’t say James Dolan is a racist. I don’t know James Dolan. Honestly, if he walked past me right now, I wouldn’t know who he is.”
Draymond Green (right)
On Tuesday’s podcast, Green said the Knicks benefited from Oakley as a player for many years.
“The man is a legend. Treat him as such,” Green said. “First off. This is Charles Oakley. Why is he buying a ticket? You doing it for me, it’s all good. You doing it against me — you speaking out against my organization — it’s not good anymore? That’s a slave mentality. A slave-master mentality. That’s ridiculous.
“It was all fine and dandy when he was laying people out, taking fines and all this stuff for your organization. But now, all of a sudden, when he says something that he feels, it’s a problem. I disagree with that. I definitely think, like I said, that that’s a slave-master mentality.”
The 53-year-old Oakley was banned from the team’s home games last week following his highly publicized altercation with security, who forcibly removed him from Madison Square Garden during a game. Oakley was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts of assault and one misdemeanor count of trespassing.
Oakley’s ban from the arena lasted less than a week after it was lifted by the Knicks on Tuesday. His reinstatement came one day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with Dolan and Oakley, with Michael Jordan joining by conference call.
Dolan said Oakley was ejected because he was being verbally abusive to security while sitting nearby the owner. After Oakley’s arrest, Dolan suggested Oakley might have an alcohol problem, which the former Knicks forward denied and the owner was criticized for making.
Green still maintains that Dolan was in the wrong for how he treated Oakley.
“I thought some of the things said about Charles Oakley — from James Dolan, from the New York Knicks’ Twitter handle — some of the things said about Oakley was wrong, and I still feel that way,” Green told ESPN. “However, I think that was a mistake by Dolan, that was a mistake by the Knicks. Then I think I followed up and made the same mistake they made about what they said about Oakley, about how it came off about what I said about James Dolan.
“Like I said, I don’t know (Dolan). I could never say he’s a racist or he has a slave owner’s mentality. I don’t know if he has that. That’s just how that situation looked to me from the outside looking in. And so that came off the wrong way, and it wasn’t what I meant by it. But what I meant by it, is there should be a respect level between players, ownership, staff, people who work in the organization, the league office, former players. It’s a family. And I think there should always be a respect level that is kept amongst the family, and I don’t think that situation it was necessarily kept.”
TNT analyst and NBA legend Charles Barkley took exception to Green’s initial “slave master mentality” comments.
“I don’t think you ever use basketball analogies to compare to slaves,” Barkley told ESPN on Thursday. “To compare guys making $20-$30 million to slaves is just asinine and stupid.”
In an interview on Thursday with Sports Illustrated, Oakley compared Dolan to former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banned for life from the NBA and forced to sell the team in 2014 after being heard on an audio recording making racist remarks.
“This man’s been around for a long time,” Oakley said of Dolan. “I ain’t heard nothing good about him.”
Oakley also said Dolan was “way out of line” for implying he was an alcoholic.
“He’s trying to peg me as a different person,” Oakley told SI. “I’m not that guy.”