Sir Charles has opinions, and he isn’t afraid to voice them.
NBA great Charles Barkley undoubtedly lost some fans and gained some more recently, when he said the grand jury got it right in declining to indict Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown and labeled looters “scumbags."
"The true story came out from the grand jury testimony," the Hall of Fame forward told radio host Mike Missanelli last week on Philadelphia’s sports radio station The Fanatic.
Noting that several black witnesses corroborated Wilson’s version of events, saying Brown attacked him and went for his gun, Barkley accused the press of using dubious information to inflame passions.
"I can’t believe anything I hear on television anymore,” the former Philadelphia 76er said. “And that’s why I don’t like talking about race issues with the media anymore, because [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. "
Barkley called those who reacted to the decision by rioting "scumbags."
"There is no excuse for people to be out there burning down people's businesses, burning down police cars," he said.
And unlike protesters who have likened police in minority neighborhoods to an occupying force, Barkley said the black community owes a debt of gratitude to cops.
“[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?”
Barkley’s words were in sharp contrast to the actions of several current athletes. On Sunday, St. Louis Rams football players Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt took the field and raised their hands in homage to the "hands up, don't shoot," rallying cry of Michael Brown supporters.
But Barkley has always spoke his mind, often going against the grain. In 2013, Barkley said he agreed with the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., in another case that inflamed racial tensions.