Throughout the NBA playoffs, the league’s biggest stars have advocated for justice for Black men and women who have been impacted by police violence and institutional racism.
On Wednesday, a grand jury decided not to indict any of the police officers who killed Breonna Taylor with any charges directly related to her death.
TNT’s Charles Barkley seemed to have a different view of the incident compared to that of many others, and he made it clear on the set of “Inside the NBA.”
Charles Barkley says you can't put the Breonna Taylor case in the same situation as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery because her boyfriend shot at the police pic.twitter.com/8dMjVMZp39
— Gifdsports (@gifdsports) September 25, 2020
“It’s just bad the young lady lost her life, but we do have to take into account that her boyfriend did shoot at the cops and shot a cop,” Barkley said. “So, like I say, even though I’m really sorry she lost her life, I don’t think we can just put this in the same situation with George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. I just don’t believe that.”
Fellow TNT commentator Shaquille O’Neal agreed with Barkley.
“I have to agree with Charles, this one is sort of lumped in,” O’Neal said. “You have to get a warrant signed and some states do allow no-knock warrants. And everyone was asking for murder charges. When you talk about murder, you have to show intent. A homicide occurred and we’re sorry a homicide occurred. When you have a warrant signed by the judge, you are doing your job, and I would imagine that you would fire back.”
In the wake of the recent killings of Taylor and Floyd, many progressives have been calling to defund the police. It’s a policy proposal that calls for reduction in law enforcement funding and presence.
Barkley also said that he doesn’t support such a proposal, which led to him being scalded on social media.
"We need to stop the defund or abolish the police crap."
– Charles Barkley
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) September 25, 2020
“I hear these fools on TV talk about ‘defund the police’ and things like that.” he said. “We need police reform and prison reform and things like that. Because you know who ain’t gonna defund the cops, white neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods. So that notion they keep saying that, I’m like wait a minute who are Black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters when we have crime in our neighborhoods? We need police reform.”
I'm done with Charles Barkley. Stop asking him about black issues.
— Easton (@thisiseaston) September 25, 2020
Ugh, Charles Barkley.
— Hey Boo Topaki (@GeeDee215) September 25, 2020
i know Charles Barkley did NOT just say on national television — “i’m sad Breonna Taylor lost her life, but we can’t forget her boyfriend did fire at a cop first.”
please tell me i heard that wrong incorrectly …
— Ashley Nicole. (@AshNicoleMoss) September 25, 2020
Charles Barkley said we can’t put Breonna Taylor’s case in same breath as George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery because we have to account for Breonna’s boyfriend shooting at the officer. pic.twitter.com/H4osAVKlKD
— Chris Williamson (@CWilliamson44) September 25, 2020
not charles barkley on national fucking television saying that breonna taylor isnt the same as george floyd bc her boyfriend shot back trying to protect them pic.twitter.com/pbKnS5Hinq
— Published Illustrator👩🏾💻 (@rawshedopee) September 25, 2020
I didn’t know I could be this disgusted by Charles Barkley.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) September 25, 2020
Really disappointed in that commentary from Shaq and Charles Barkley about the #BreonnaTaylor situation. That bothered me as a Black Man to see that. Fuck both of them
— Jangle Ang 🇺🇸 ♋♌ (@JBeZ1) September 25, 2020
I dnt know why Charles barkley still surprises yall lolpic.twitter.com/L7AIkso4Gx
— tayö (@tayoshi2) September 25, 2020
Watch Charles Barkley Come to the Defense of the Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor; Says She Shouldn't Be Looked at Like George Floyd b/c Her BF Shot at Cops (an Inaccurate Statement); Wants Black People to Shut Up About Defunding The Police (Tweets-Vids) https://t.co/VQvo3yOboO pic.twitter.com/3zW7fkzlsn
— Robert Littal BSO (@BSO) September 25, 2020
I watch Inside the NBA specifically to hear well-informed takes about cops from Charles Barkley (Republican), Ernie Johnson (2016 John Kasich voter), and Shaq (literally a cop)
— sreekar (@sreekyshooter) September 25, 2020
As a whole, the NBA has been vocal about the need for police reform in general, as well as improvement in other issues that affect people of color, such as increased voter turnout.
Players such as LeBron James have not only been outspoken about social justice but have also taken action.
James’ “More Than a Vote” initiative is aimed at stopping voter suppression, an issue that some contend disproportionately affects the African-American community.