Former NBA star, Charles Barkley has had much to say about Ferguson that is not in lockstep with many in the black community. He used the term “scumbags” to refer to the looters in Ferguson and he apologized for that term. He said all he knows about slavery is what he read and what his grandmother told him. He explained how having a relationship with law enforcement is key to having them protect people in black communities.
Barkley brought up the Garner case in New York as well. He explained his reasoning for not expecting indictments in either the Ferguson or the New York cases. His honest assessment of the facts and evidence brought him to the same conclusions drawn by the grand juries. This has caused many to speak out against Barkley, including Kenny Smith.
Smith, Barkley’s fellow NBA commentator on TNT, issued an open letter to him this week stating that the two men do not agree on these matters. The two gentlemen are apparently friends and have agreed to disagree. Smith points out that poverty and lack of education are causing the difficulties in black communities that lead to the mistrust which later leads to situations like Ferguson. He did not speak specifically to the judicial system, just to the inherent distrust between blacks and police.
Shaquille O’Neal weighed in only briefly to state that “it’s not about race all the time.” Barkley wrapped the piece up by discussing the luxuries afforded those who live in great neighborhoods who attend great schools. He warned young black folks who do not have those circumstances that they are responsible for avoiding crime and becoming part of the judicial system. Personal responsibility has finally been brought into the conversation.
All of the commentators expressed sympathy for the families of both Brown and Garner. Barkley said, “People want to hear your opinion unless they disagree with you.” Smith said what was missed is the root of the problem and the ramifications of how the black community deals with these situations.
Love or hate Charles Barkley, his strong opinions on this matter may just lead to the conversation Americans of all pigmentation levels need to be having about law enforcement, education, and the economy. It is refreshing to see gentlemen expressing their views and being able to disagree without behaving like spoiled children. Would that the U.S. Congress and the White House would take note and follow suit.
H/T: Conservative Tribune