Charles Barkley, TNT analyst and former NBA star, sounded off on the crisis in Ferguson, Mo., that was sparked by a grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
This being Barkley, he had a take that was nuanced — and guaranteed to spark a conversation. The topic came up when Barkley, in a radio interview, was asked about his comments in October about Russell Wilson and whether he is “black enough.” Barkley expressed his frustration with blacks being accused of “acting white” when they study in school and with how blacks are portrayed by the media. “We can be doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, fire- and policemen,” he said, and then turned to Ferguson protests.
“Them jackasses who are looting,” Barkley said in an interview on Philadelphia’s 97.5 The Fanatic last week. “Those aren’t real black people, those are scumbags. The real black people, they’re not out there looting. I just watched a on CNN where a bunch of folks, really amazing folks wouldn’t let them burn down an establishment. it was a great story. I was in Philly this summer when I saw four black kids who left money in a store when there was nobody in the store. … We only put the negative black people on television. We don’t put the good, hard-working black people. …
“There’s a perception among some black people that if you’re not a thug or hood rat or if you don’t war your pants around by your ass, you’re not black enough. They’re always holding us back, plain and simple.”
Barkley said that there are so many media narratives that it’s tough to know what really happened between former officer Darren Wilson and Brown and that he wants “to take the time as a responsible person” to read the grand jury statement more closely.
“The true story came out from the grand jury testimony,” Barkley said told host Mike Missanelli. “I can’t believe anything I hear on television anymore. And, that’s why I don’t like talking about race issues with the media anymore, because they [the media] love this stuff, and lead people to jump to conclusions. The media shouldn’t do that. They never do that when black people kill each other. ”
He did, though, offer support for officers who work in black neighborhoods.
“[W]e have to be really careful with the cops, because if it wasn’t for the cops we would be living in the wild, wild West in our neighborhoods,” he said. “We can’t pick out certain incidentals that don’t go our way and act like the cops are all bad…. Do you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn’t for the cops?”
Five members of the Rams took the field Sunday with in a “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture that angered a St. Louis police group. On Monday night, the disconnect continued with the Rams and police unable to agree on whether a team official had apologized for the gesture, for which the NFL says the players will face no discipline.
Barkley didn’t stop with Ferguson or the media. He criticized President Obama’s handling of ISIS. “Obama needs to put some real bodies over there and start shooting those damn guys from ISIS. We can’t wait any longer, those guys are getting out of hand,” he said. “We can’t just bomb them from a distance, they have to put boots on the ground, they have to go over there and shoot them. We need to put some bodies on the ground and shoot them dead.”
Sally Jenkins: Rams gesture was free speech and police should know that