I have gotten a kick out of former NBA basketball star Charles Barkley for many years, as he can be depended upon to say what he really thinks about controversial issues. Of course, I don’t always agree with him, but I think he always adds something interesting to the conversation. Most refreshing is he doesn’t tip toe around the hypersensitive issue of race in this country. He dives right in.
Recently he has weighed in on the shooting in Ferguson of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown, saying that: “The true story came out from the grand jury testimony,” adding that he was made aware of “key forensic evidence, and several black witnesses that supported Officer Darren Wilson’s story…”
That comes from Yahoo news, but I have read elsewhere that Barkley has said he wants to read the transcript of the grand jury to develop a final opinion. As also quoted in that Yahoo piece, Barkley said: “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. “
And the former NBA star “also called those who rioted after the decision was announced ‘scumbags,’ and said ‘There is no excuse for people to be out there burning down people’s businesses, burning down police cars.’ And “[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?”
A white person saying what I just quoted from Barkley would be figuratively tarred and feathered for being racist. In a response I read to Barkley’s opinions, he was called an Uncle Tom by some fool whose skin color remains anonymous. Clearly this, let me repeat, fool is ignorant of Prince Charles’ often citing incidents of racism in the NBA when he was a player. He often expressed what other black stars like Michael Jordan thought but did not want to say publicly, what with all of the potential backlash. Barkley didn’t mind taking the flak. Back then Charles was accused of being a reverse racist by some, but he always had a point or two worth considering, just as he does now.
My quoting Barkley above does not mean I agree with his opinions completely, though I do think each point he raises has some validity. Just as I think his defense of NFL star running back Adrian Peterson’s beating of his four year old son added a dimension of understanding about what is normal in poor neighborhoods in the south (Barkley said something like if beating kids was a crime all the parents in his neighborhood growing up would be put in prison).
Of course, those on the right welcome Barkley’s recent statements because they fit into their political narrative. But those of you who have followed this blog for many a month should know by now that much of what is said by those people disgusts me because they are always eager to seize upon anything that supports their narrative of events with little regard for the truth.
While not disgusting me, liberal self-righteousness often called political correctness, regularly irritates me. What I love about Charles Barkley is he does not care about political correctness or racial popularity.
He simply says what he believes. And I’m always a willing listener.