While some prominent figures in the sports world, including L.A Lakers star LeBron James and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, took to social media to voice their outrage against the Breonna Taylor decision, others backed the blue.
As chaos continues to rampage through Louisville, basketball legend and NBA analyst Charles “the Round Mound of Rebound” Barkley defended Louisville police, insisting that the Breonna Taylor shooting shouldn’t be “lumped in” with other high-profile shootings of unarmed black people.
According to the New York Post, on the Thursday night TNT pregame show for game four of the Western Conference Finals between the LA Lakers and Denver Nuggets, Barkley laid it all out on the line.
“I feel bad that the young lady lost her life,” said Barkley. “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.”
Barkley also pushed back against the nationwide movement to defund police departments, according to the New York Post.
“I hear these fools on TV talking about defund the police and things like that,” Barkley said. “I’m like, wait a minute, who are black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters? When we have crime in our neighborhoods?”
Barkley wasn’t the only one to take the road less traveled on. His co-host, former NBA star Shaquille “Shaq” O’Neal, had similar thoughts:
“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.”
Few have taken to social media to applaud Barkley for speaking his truth.
But, the “Inside the NBA” host didn’t get away completely scott-free.
Others are on a mission to show Barkley a piece of their mind.
Barkley is one of few celebrity figures to speak out against the widespread “defund the police” narrative, and as protests continue to engulf the country in the coming weeks, it will be interesting to see if others follow in his footsteps.