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Charles Barkley warns people about comparing Breonna Taylor to George Floyd

Published Sep 27th, 2020 5:22PM EDT
Defund the police
Image: zz/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx

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  • NBA analyst Charles Barkley has come under fire in recent days for comments he made during a broadcast about the national “defund the police” movement, as well as about the police killing of Breonna Taylor.
  • About defunding the police, Barkley suggested that adherents to that philosophy are “fools” and asked, “Who are black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters?”
  • About the death of Taylor, he said it was a tragedy but that it shouldn’t be compared to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, since Louisville police claimed that Taylor’s boyfriend shot at them first.

At one point during TNT‘s pregame coverage of the NBA‘s Western Conference Finals, analyst Charles Barkley decided to weigh in on some pretty heavy current events roiling the nation right now, including the “defund the police” movement, such that people are still talking about Barkley’s comments days after the fact.

The NBA legend’s specific comments about police reform — as well as Breonna Taylor, the young woman in Louisville killed by police back in March — have certainly rocked the Twittersphere and media landscape, to say the least.

About defunding the police, for example, Barkley was dismissive of such a thing even being a viable idea. “Who are black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters?” Continuing his rant, he added that “We have to be really careful. I hear these fools on TV talking about ‘defund the police’ and things like that. We need police reform, prison reform, and things like that. Because you know who ain’t going to defund the cops? White neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods.”

But Barkley didn’t stop there. He also went on to address the recent protests over the death of Taylor, and the fact that a grand jury in recent days did not recommend charging any of the police involved for her death. Louisville police justified the shooting by claiming that Taylor’s boyfriend, who was home at the time with her, shot at the cops first.

“This one, I don’t think it was like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and things like that,” Barkley said. “I feel bad this young lady lost her life. But, you know, we do have to take into account her boyfriend did shoot 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.”

Deadspin weighed in on Barkley’s comments on Sunday, with a piece headlined: “We don’t have to watch Charles Barkley disrespect Black women until next season.” Here, meanwhile, is a roundup of some of the additional reaction Barkley’s comments have drawn:

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.