No stranger to controversy, former NBA player Charles Barkley found himself in the middle of it again after a crowd turned on him when he asked them a simple question.
Speaking at a town hall in Baltimore on Nov. 22 for an upcoming documentary series about race relations, Barkley took a stand for police officers and reportedly asked the crowd, “Did anybody say, ‘Man, I feel bad for their family’?”
The basketball star was filming part of the documentary, titled “The Race Card,” when the topic of police and race relations came up, reported ESPN blog TheUndefeated.com.
The Daily Caller reported that the town hall, scheduled to last an hour, was cut short after the audience began shouting at Barkley after he urged them to have compassion for families of police officers who become targets while serving their communities.
His remarks didn’t sit well with members of the audience — especially Diane Butler, mother of Tyrone West, who reportedly died from complications after police restrained him in 2013.
“I don’t know you, I don’t like you,” she told him, according to Yellowhammer News.
Barkley’s response didn’t help ease tensions in the room.
“I’m sorry for your loss. As far as you not liking me, it really doesn’t bother me. I’m used to it. I’m like the homecoming queen. All the ugly girls hate you. That’s part of my life. I never take anything personally,” he told Butler.
That’s when things got ugly, and the audience began insulting the basketball star. The Independent Journal Review reported that the situation turned so bad that Barkley’s security team escorted him off the stage before the town hall was scheduled to end.
It’s a shame Barkley took such heat for expressing compassion for the families of police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. There was nothing wrong with his question.
Barkley should be accustomed to this type of response. Earlier in the year, he said black communities need the police, and called on black communities to do better with regard to black-on-black crime.
It’s a good thing Barkley is used to this kind of reaction, because, sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
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