Civil War; Other Team/Legend Feuds
One thing's for sure...Charles Oakley, despite not having taken the Madison Square Garden floor for years, is still the enforcer for the New York Knicks.
Oakley, who last played in 2004, was of course involved in the highly publicized bout with the MSG security and the NYPD, with different sides emerging over what caused the ruckus. A common theme of the whole thing appears to be that Oakley, a Knick from 1988-98, had some not-so-nice things to say about Knicks owner James Dolan, which of course Dolan's team has done everything to deny. The Knicks PR Twitter did everything they could to run this narrative...
Oakley's arrest, while venturing to some dark extremes, is nowhere near the first time that team management has clashed with a star player. Oakley remains a beloved Knick, and many fans have already taken his side with the social media trends "#FreeOakley" or "#TeamOakley". Below we've listed some of the more famous examples, their endings giving hope that conflicts can be resolved. The way the Knicks' story is going, however, don't expect a happily ever after anytime soon.
Yogi Berra, Yankees
Oakley isn't the first beloved New York City legend to run into trouble with his franchise. The Aflac spokesman/really good catcher already was a Yankees legend, having earned 12 World Series titles as both a player and a coach with the Bronx Bombers. However, Berra's relationship with the Yankees was severed when owner George Steinbrenner fired him as manager just 16 games into the 1985 season, weeks after assuring Berra the job was his. Furthermore, The Boss didn't even carry out the firing himself, instead outsourcing the task advisor Clyde King. The story, however, has a happy ending. Steinbrenner reached out to Berra in 1999, where the two made amends. Berra remained an active member of the Yankees organization until he passed away in 2015.
LeBron James, Cavaliers
Prior to 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers were basically a team that solely existed so Michael Jordan would visit and beat a team in Ohio every so often. That changed in 2003, upon the arrival of James, who helped put Cleveland on the basketball map, leading the franchise to their first ever NBA Finals appearance in 2007. Further success was not to be, and upon James's free agency in 2010, he bolted for Miami in the highly discussed "Decision", the nationally televised special where James famously "took (his) talents to South Beach". Minutes after the special aired, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert penned an open letter on the team's official website, infamously in the "comic sans" font, decreeing that the Cavs would earn an NBA title before the "self-proclaimed King". James took offense to that, and things predictably grew tense between he and the Cavs for several years. Upon the Heat's first visit to Cleveland that year, he was booed relentlessly, even serenaded with chants of "Akron Hates You". James and Gilbert were eventually able to resolve their differences, with James making a highly publicized return to Cleveland in time for the 2014-15 season.
Brett Favre, Packers
Since 1993, we've had more Presidents than we've had Packers' franchise quarterbacks, the executive branch winning that battle by a 4-2 margin. It was Favre who led the Packers to their first Super Bowl since the Lombardi days, and he set numerous NFL record in the process. By the time 2008 rolled around, however, Favre was ready announce his retirement, and he did so that offseason. However, he accused the Packers of rushing him into a decision, and later began a comeback trail. In the process, he ripped Packers management in an interview with Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren. After spending the 2008 season with the New York Jets, Favre then ventured off to play for the Minnesota Vikings, arguably the Packers' biggest rivals. Meanwhile, the Packers pressed forward with Aaron Rodgers, and it's safe to say that decision has turned out nicely. Favre and the Packers remained resentful toward each as Rodgers rose to prominence, but eventually let bygones be bygones when they invited Favre back to Lambeau to retire his number, an honor postponed upon his unusual departure.
What athlete/management battles do you remember? Tweet @GeoffMags5490 and keep the conversation going
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