Charles Barkley proudly proclaimed decades ago that he is “not a role model” and the NBA legend backed up that claim and then some when he made disparaging remarks about Breonna Taylor‘s killing. It was the latest apparent proof that Barkley and his millions of dollars have made him completely out of touch with the Black experience.
Before the NBA’s Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals tipped off Thursday night, Barkley took his familiar perch as a panelist on TNT’s popular pregame show. Since the NBA’s restarted season has been centered on social justice, the panel’s topic of conversation inevitably turned to this week’s Louisville grand jury’s decision to indict a fired cop for shooting a wall instead of for shooting and killing Breonna Taylor.
That’s when Barkley sided with Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron‘s razor-thin assertion that Taylor would not have been shot had her boyfriend — who said he suspected burglars as police did not announce themselves while kicking down the apartment door — hadn’t stood his ground and fired his legal gun to defend themselves.
“I just feel bad that the young lady lost her life,” Barkley began before offering an asterisk for his purported sympathy. “But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop.”
“So like I say, even though I am really sorry she lost her life, I just don’t think we can put this in the same situation as George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery,” Barkley said.
In fact, one of the few ways in which the situations do not mirror each other is that Taylor’s killers were never charged with her murder.
Nevermind the fact that the cops botched the execution of a suspiciously obtained no-knock warrant that shouldn’t have even had them at Tayor’s apartment in the first place. Barkley, like Cameron, chose not to consider those truths when reaching for a conclusion that exonerated the cops of any real wrongdoing, let alone murder.
Shaquille O’Neal, a co-host on the show, expressed a similar sentiment. But Shaq has long been police-adjacent.
And it’s never a good thing when Candace Owens is cheering you on from her sunken social media sidelines.
However, anybody even remotely familiar with Barkley knows that he has a history of sharing certain anti-Black views, notably those he expressed about George Zimmerman‘s murder acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
Barkley told us nearly 20 years earlier that “I am not a role model” in a popular commercial for Nike in 1993. And while he’s more than proven that statement ver the years — remember when he allegedly instigated a bar fight while he was in Cleveland for a game with the U.S. men’s Olympic basketball Dream Team in 1996? — he seems to save a special kind of vitriol for whenever the topic at hand involves race.
Scroll down to see some of the more noteworthy examples of Charles Barkley’s social commentary that’s mired in the sunken place.
1. Barkley ‘agrees’ with George Zimmerman Verdict
In a similar instance to his slanderous comments about Breonna Taylor, Barkley in 2013 voiced his support for the jurors who returned a not guilty verdict and allowed George Zimmerman to get away with the February 26, 2012, killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
“I agree with the verdict,” Barkley told CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo at the time. “I’m sorry that young kid got killed, but they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him.”
Though there was some “racial profiling,” in the case, Barkley said, “something happened that changed the dynamic that night.”
2. Barkley defends Adrian Peterson amid child abuse scandal
“Listen, we spank kids in the south,” Barkley told CBS host Jim Rome on the “NFL Today” show. “I think the question about did Adrian Peterson go overboard? But we all grew up in different environments. Every black parent in my neighborhood in the south would be in trouble, or in jail under those circumstances.”
3. Barkley blames police shootings on Black peopleSource:Getty
During an interview with CNN’s Brooke Baldwin in 2014, Barkley argued that white cops are not out to shoot Black people because of racism.
First, Barkley explained, “We never discuss race in this country until something bad happens.” He is a Black man and son of the south. When has there ever been a time when America was not bad in terms of its treatment of Black people?
In any event, Barkley added, “Everybody wants to protect their own tribe, whether they are right or wrong.”
He wasn’t finished: “We as Black people, we have a lot of crooks. We can’t just wait until something like (the Brown shooting) happens. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. There is a reason that they racially profile us in the way they do. Sometimes it is wrong, and sometimes it is right.”
4. Barkley defends police after cops kill Alton Sterling and Philando Castile
Barkley said in 2016 that “there’s a lot of people at fault” for police shootings, not just law enforcement.
“The cops have made some mistakes; black people have made some mistakes,” Barkley said during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Dan Le Batard Show” at the time. “We have to sit back and be honest with each other. The cops have made some mistakes, that don’t give us the right to riot and shoot cops.”
5. Barkley calls Ferguson protesters “scumbags”
“Those aren’t Black people, those are scumbags,” Barkley famously said in 2014 about people protesting the aftermath of the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
6. Barkley rips “brainwashed” and “unintelligent” Black peopleSource:Getty
“We as Black people are never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other Black people,” Barkey said during an appearance on Philadelphia’s “Afternoons with Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis” radio show. “When you are Black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other Black people.”
He continued: “For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not Black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good Black person. It’s a dirty, dark secret in the Black community.”
Finally, Barkley added: “There are a lot of Black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have success. It’s best to knock a successful Black person down because they’re intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they’re successful. It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re Black, man.”
7. Barkley mocks people protesting Confederate monuments
Barkley implied that counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, were responsible for the deaths of three people killed during the White supremacist terror attacks during the summer of 2017.
He went on to argue that he wouldn’t waste energy on people who would never like him, and he asked of counterprotesters, “What did they think was gonna happen?” He said counterprotesters “whipped up” the energy that quickly became deadly, and he was disappointed that counter-protesters even showed up. “If you go up to meet idiots, idiotic things are going to happen.”
Barkley argued that “most” Black people never think about “those stupid [Confederate] statues” and insisted, “I’m not going to waste my energy.”
8. Barkley says he’s “leery” of calling Trump “racist”
“Do I think he’s a racist?” Barkley asked while clearly stalling before finally settling on this gem of an answer: “I’m leery of calling people racist. He said some things that could be construed as racist.”
That answer was decidedly different from the one he gave to a similar question the year before.
“The situation of President Trump is a total overreaction and I feel bad because you see anti-Semitism, racism. People feel emboldened to do things and say things now,” Barkley said in an interview that aired in March 2018. “He definitely encourages it. …I think he panders to his base.”
9. Barkley makes “joke” abut hitting a Black woman reporter
Axios reporter Alexi McCammond wrote on social media last year, “Just FYI Charles Barkley told me tonight ‘I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you,’ and then when I objected to that he told me I ‘couldn’t take a joke.’”
After the tweet went viral, McCammond wrote, “I hate being part of a story so here’s a reminder that this is so much bigger than me: nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence.”
10. Described anti-black racism as “fun”Source:Getty
Responding to the controversy surrounding Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito’s alleged racist remarks and bullying to teammate Jonathan Martin in 2013, Barkley was asked whether racist talk should be allowed in the locker room.
“The locker room is very fun spirited and it’s sexist, it’s racist, at times,” Barkley said at the time. “It’s all over the place, and I’ve got no problem with that. You know, I got white guys and I’m racist towards them in a fun way and they’re racist toward me in a fun way.”