Charles Barkley on Ferguson: 'If a guy's trying to take my gun, all bets are off'
Charles Barkley, back on the Philadelphia airwaves Tuesday, embellished on last week’s headline-making views about the national furor over the shooting of an unarmed young man by a Ferguson, Mo. police officer.
Charles Barkley, back on the Philadelphia airwaves Tuesday, embellished on last week's headline-making views about the national furor over the shooting of an unarmed young man by a Ferguson, Mo. police officer.
"Those jackasses who are looting, those aren't real black people, those are scumbags," the NBA Hall of Famer and TNT analyst told Mike Missanelli on 97.5 The Fanatic on Nov. 25. "...There's no excuse for those people to be out there burning down people's businesses, burning up police cars, that serves no purpose."
That was one wild interview, full of all sorts of quotable remarks, including:
On holidays: "Christmas sucks, because people just want gifts."
On ISIS: "We got to put boots on the ground. We got to go over there and shoot 'em, dead. D-E-E-A-D, dead."
On politics: "Chris Christie would be the only guy who's a Republican that I would vote for."
On sports betting in New Jersey: "I think it's a travesty that they don't have that."
On viral photos of Kim Kardashian's caboose: "There's no way that thing wasn't Photoshopped ... The guy who brushed that ass, he probably got a Popeye muscle by now."
Those were all eclipsed by Barkley's comments on race-related related subjects, just as he was widely quoted about quarterback Russell Wilson being called "too white" and about running back Adrian Peterson's allegedly excessive use of corporal punishment ("Every black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances").
Tuesday, Barkley was back, as part of a deal to appear the day after every Sixers loss, with $200 going to charity. (If Philadelphia loses to Minnesota tonight, the former Sixers forward will speak again Thursday.)
Barkley seemed accepting of the Nov. 24 decision by a grand jury not to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9.
"We don't know what to believe," since the "grand jury testimony did include that he may have had his hands up," Missanelli said.
"True, but if a guy's trying to take my gun, all bets are off," Barkley responded. "If a guy's trying to take my gun, or he's hitting me, all bets are off."
Two shots were fired by Wilson while he was struggling with Brown through the window of his patrol car, according to accounts. When Brown, wounded in the hand, began to run, Wilson gave chase, firing 10 more times. Wilson testified that Brown was charging him.
"All those witnesses said he shot that kid in the back, but he had no bullet wounds in the back," Barkley said.
"For us as black people to act like all cops are out there rampaging, killing black folks, that's ridiculous," Barkley said. "That's flat-out ridiculous. If it wasn't for the cops, we would be living in the Wild Wild West. ... They're the only thing between us and a purge."
Because some witnesses said Brown's hands may have been raised in a gesture of surrender, many protesters, including five players on the St. Louis Rams, have publicly raised their hands to show their discontent.
"I have no problem with guys giving their opinion," Barkley told Missanelli.
"I am able to look at the facts, and not just assume that because a white cop shot a black guy that it was racial," Barkley said. "If I thought a cop shot him for no reason, I would have said that. I'm never going to stand by for any injustice."
Critics don't bother Barkley.
"Every black person knows if you don't kiss up to every black person you're going to be called an Uncle Tom or a sellout," he said. "That's just the way it works in the black community."
"I'm very aware of who I am," he said. "I know I'm a nationwide guy."
"I don't fight every battle," he continued. "... I pick and choose the battles I want to fight, because every battle's not worth fighting. ... but I'm very aware how powerful my words are. That's why I'm measured."
A contrary view came in a later interview with ESPN pro football analyst Sal Paolantonio, who wrote a biography of Frank Rizzo, the Philadelphia top cop who became mayor.
"I was a gunnery officer in the Navy, I carried a sidearm overseas, I know what rules of engagement and excessive force are, and how officers who carry a weapon are trained. And the bottom line for me is this: You can't fire 12 shots at an unarmed man. It's excessive force."
Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or email@example.com. Follow @petemucha on Twitter.