Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Charles Barkley said something stupid—again.
On Thursday, as hundreds of figures throughout the sports world shared their reactions to the Breonna Taylor verdict, the 11-time NBA All-Star offered his own opinion on TNT’s Inside the NBA.
“I just feel bad that the young lady lost her life,” he said. “But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop. So like I say, even though I am really sorry she lost her life, I just don’t think we can put this in the same situation as George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery.”
Mind you, Chuck is talking about an innocent Black woman who died in the hallway after being shot six times after police entered her apartment with a no-knock warrant. He’s also inferring that unlike Floyd or Arbery, Breonna’s victimhood falls into question because her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired at intruders who barged into his crib after midnight without announcing themselves (Editor’s note: Kentucky Attorney General David Cameron said in a press conference Wednesday that a single witness heard police officers announce themselves, but at least a dozen witnesses have said they did not hear police announce themselves. Walker has maintained he did not hear the police announce themselves.). So if the police weren’t in the wrong for how they executed that warrant, then why in the hell did the city of Louisville just cut Breonna’s family a $12 million check?
Chuck, you’re buggin’.
He then went on to question the purpose behind defunding the police.
“I hear these fools on TV talking about defund the police and things like that. 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,” Barkley said. “Who are black people supposed to call? Ghost Busters when we have crime in our neighborhood? [...] We need to stop the defund or abolish the police crap.”
The biggest problem with defunding the police is that far too many people argue against doing so without a) educating themselves on why it’s even being said and b) using basic human logic. So to put this as succinctly possible, defunding the police doesn’t mean getting rid of the police entirely; it means reducing police budgets and instead reallocating those funds into various social programs that can improve public safety, such as youth services, public health, housing programs, education, etc. So instead of relying on the police to solve every goddamn problem themselves, you instead focus on addressing mental illness, poverty, etc., directly by—wait for it—actually investing in communities.
In what realm of reality does this not make perfect fucking sense?
To the surprise of no one, Barkley’s co-host, Shaquille O’Neal—a whole-ass deputy himself—co-signed his foolishness, as did the only Black girl devoid of magic, Candace Owens.
“Congratulations to @SHAQ and Charles Barkley for having the courage to TELL THE TRUTH about #BreonnaTaylor on live TV,” Her Ashiness tweeted. “It is rare for respected athletes to have the spine to buck the DISHONEST media narrative but the facts are the facts. Try it Lebron!”
Again, Chuck—you’re buggin’.
And I’m clearly not the only person who feels that way, as the 57-year-old became a trending topic on Twitter shortly after spewing his nonsense.
In a perfect world, Charles would actually read up on some of these social issues that he so fervently speaks on, but I guess I’m asking for too much.
Correction, 9/26/20, 9:02 a.m.: An earlier version of this story misstated the location where Breonna Taylor died. She was killed while in the hallway of her home. Prior to the arrival of the police, she had been asleep but was awaken by the noise. The story has been updated.