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In case you somehow haven’t noticed this by now, Charles Barkley has some very strong opinions about all things related to the NBA. Whether he’s talking about how much NBA fans hate Dwight Howard, trying to figure out LeBron James’ place in NBA history, or discussing Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors, Barkley isn’t afraid to take a stand on just about any topic. And he gets paid a lot of money to do it.
Barkley’s opinionated ways extend beyond the basketball court, too. Over the last few years, he has also shared his thoughts on important social issues, and more often than not, he’s caused controversy by doing it. There was the time he admitted he didn’t think George Zimmerman deserved to be found guilty, the time he defended police after the Mike Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo., and the time he said he didn’t believe Eric Garner’s death should be classified as a homicide. These opinions haven’t gone over well with most people, especially those in the black community, and Barkley has been called a hypocrite, a sell out, and worse as a result of them.
But that hasn’t stopped Barkley from continuing to share his opinions on issues like racism, racial profiling, and police shootings, and on Tuesday, he did it again during an appearance on ESPN Radio’s The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. At first, his appearance seemed like it was going to be pretty lighthearted—Barkley claimed he’s been offered $3 million to join Twitter at one point and applauded Draymond Green for allegedly assaulting a heckler at another—but it took a turn for the worst when Barkley decided to address the police shootings that took place in Louisiana and Minnesota last week. For more than five minutes, he shared many of the same unpopular opinions he’s shared in the past. And by the end of his rant, Le Batard had this look on his face:
You can listen to what Barkley had to say in the video above. You can also read a complete transcript of the video—complete with Le Batard's reactions to some of the things Barkley said—below:
Barkley: There’s a lot of people at fault. The cops have made some mistakes. Black people have made some mistakes. Until we stop…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. We need the cops, especially in the black community. We as black people, we’ve got to do better. We never get mad when black people kill each other, which that always has bothered me. It’s always bothered me. And then, somebody is gonna scream like, ‘Well, you can’t change the subject.’ Well, first of all, I’ve never changed the subject. I’ve always said that, ‘We as black people, if you want respect, you have to give each other respect.’ You can’t demand respect from white people and the cops if we don’t respect each other.
We got to do better as black people. The cops have made some mistakes, but there’s a lot of blame to go around. But I’m not going to get on TV and yell like all these other idiots. I’m willing to sit down with anybody and have constructive criticism. I always tell myself as a black man: 'Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?' If I’m out doing illegal stuff, stupid stuff, I’m part of the problem. If I’m helping young black kids go to college like I’m trying to do, if I’m giving money to causes to help young men, I know I’m part of the solution. I’m not perfect, I’m not trying to be perfect, but you have to ask yourself: 'Are you part of the problem or are you part of the solution?'
I respect and admire what cops do. My bodyguard is a cop, a black cop. We talk about situations all the time. One of the problems with this stuff is the media—all these people are Monday morning quarterbacks. Do you know what they are, Dan? They’re Monday morning quarterbacks, because they don’t have the stones to play on Sunday. Everybody says what I would do or what I should do. I think some of these cops are panicking under pressure. I had a real in-depth conversation with my bodyguard about the gun thing in Minnesota. You know, Dan, I’m a gun guy, and he always warns me. He says, ‘Do not put your ID where your gun is.’ He says, ‘What I think…’ He says, ‘Whether we think the cop is right or wrong…’ First of all, everything is happening in fast motion. Everybody gets to sit back and see what happens. He says, ‘What I think happened is that guy said, Can I have your ID?’ And then the next thing he said is, ‘I have a gun,’ and he reaches. And I think the cop just panicked.
Le Batard: I know, but Charles, they’re more likely to panic around black people because there’s a fear…
Barkley: Well, Dan, because in fairness, because some black people out there are crooks. You can’t sit there and act like all these—and first of all, I’m not saying in that situation—there’s a reason there’s some…and I’m not saying that’s right, either. There is some reason why there’s racial stereotypes because some of these black people out there are committing crimes. Let’s don’t sit there and act like all our hands are clean.
Le Batard: I know, but Charles, you can’t be profiling like that. I understand…
Barkley: Dan, these guys are dealing with criminals everyday, and that’s easy for you to say. That’s easy for you to say. And like I said, I’m not saying they should racially profile guys. But I’m saying we can’t jump to conclusions every time, like, just because a guy is black. First of all, there is racial profiling. There has always been racism. First of all, there’s racism on both sides, let’s get that straight. But to just assume…First of all, if you go back and look at that thing in Louisiana, I think those cops clearly overreacted, but there’s no doubt in my mind that if I’m fighting with a guy and I hear somebody scream “Gun!” and I got a gun, I’m going to shoot the guy. And like I said, the cops probably did overreact in both situations, but we got to look at the big picture. Let’s work with the cops, because we need the cops, Dan. If it wasn’t for the cops, we would be living in the Wild, Wild West. And let me get this straight: Cops have made mistakes, but as a black person, every time you…hey, listen, we still got to do better. But like I say, why don’t black people get mad when we kill each other? I’m not trying to deflect or place blame, that’s just a fact.
Le Batard: That’s not true, Charles.
Barkley: It is true, Dan. Dan, first of all, you’re not black.
Le Batard: I know I’m not black, but that’s not true that black people don’t get mad that other black people are killing black people. That’s not true.
Barkley: We don’t have near the outrage we do when a white cop kills somebody. Dan, I been black my whole life, and most black people I know are killed by other black people. And I never understood why there’s not more outrage about the way we treat each other as black people.
Le Batard: It can be both, Charles.
Barkley: It can be both. But, Dan, first of all, if you’re going to sit on TV and say there’s the same moral outrage when black people kill each other as when white people kill each other, that’s just disingenuous on your part.
As you might imagine, some of Barkley’s words did not sit well with people on social media. Within minutes of his appearance, there were quite a few emotional responses to the opinions that Barkley shared. There were some people who agreed with his take on racial profiling and the recent shootings, but for the most part, the overwhelming majority of people disagreed with Barkley. You can read their responses to him here:
Barkley hasn’t backed down from giving his opinion on social issues in the past, and we wouldn’t expect him to back down now. But he clearly touched a nerve with his latest interview.