Charles Barkley challenges pervasive myths surrounding Ferguson, racism, and police violence
Not only did former NBA star Charles Barkley stun many observers when he said that the Ferguson grand jury got it right when they determined they could not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, he scolded the media for leading the nation to jump to erroneous conclusions about that and other cases.
“The scumbag comment?” Baldwin asked, referring to Barkley’s characterization of the Ferguson rioters which prompted a backlash on social media.
“When you’re looting people’s property, that’s what you are,” Barkley replied.
When asked if he thought that Ferguson would have ignited protests across the country if Darren Wilson had been black, Barkley said he did not. “We have a racial issue in this country,” the basketball commentator said. “We’ve always had a racial issue in this country, and the biggest problem with it is we never discuss race until something bad happens. We never have meaningful dialogue over a cold beer when things are going good.”
“The notion that white cops are out there just killing back people, that’s ridiculous,” he added. “And I challenge any black person to try to make that point.”
“They were already going to riot,” Barkley said of the Ferguson protesters regardless of the grand jury’s verdict.
When Baldwin characterized the death of New York City man who was choked to death by a police officer after refusing to be subdued as a “homicide,” Barkley interrupted her. “When the cops are trying to arrest you, if you fight back things go wrong,” he said. “I don’t think they were trying to kill Mr. [Eric] Garner.”
“How can the president help this?” Baldwin asked. “The first African-American president, he held meetings at the White House this week, should he be going to Ferguson?”
“No,” Barkley replied. “Every time something happens in the black community, we have the same cast of sad characters.”
Among those “sad characters” Barkley called out was National Action Network chief and MSNBC host Al Sharpton.
“We don’t have to have Al Sharpton go there,” he said. “We have the same sad sack of black characters, we need strong black men in St. Louis to stand up, and say, ‘Hey, let’s handle this situation.’” These rational comments are certain to spark a backlash from those who support the idea that justice in this and other cases was not done.