Former NBA star Charles Barkley is notorious for his controversial remarks made during heated political events, but his most recent comments label Ferguson's protesters as "scumbags" and "crooks."
"We as black people, we got a lot of crooks," Barkley said during an interview with CNN's Brooke Baldwin on Tuesday. Barkley was already in hot water after a radio interview on Philadelphia's 97.5 last week where he commented on the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. "Those aren't real black people, those are scumbags," he said.
During the CNN interview, Barkley said he wouldn't back down on those comments he made on the radio, and continued to add more thoughts on the sensitive topic by agreeing with the grand jury's decision to not indict former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and insist that he doesn't believe that white cops shoot black people because of racism, calling the idea "ridiculous."
"We never discuss race in this country until something bad happens," he said. "Everybody wants to protect their own tribe, whether they are right or wrong."
"Anybody who walks out peacefully, who protests peacefully, that's what this country was built on," he continued. "But to be burning people's property, burning police cars, looting people's stores, that is 100% ridiculous."
Barkley began his professional basketball career as the 5th draft pick for the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984 after a successful time at Alabama's Auburn University. During his professional career, he earned 11 NBA All-Star Game appearances and was named the All-Star MVP in 1991. He was voted the league's Most Valuable Player in 1993 and named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History during the NBA's 50th anniversary. He competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games and won two gold medals as a member of the United States' Dream Team. Barkley is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Since retiring in 2000, Barkley has gone on to work as a television NBA analyst and currently works for Turner Broadcasting's Inside the NBA. Barkley had previous affiliated himself with the Republican party and had toyed with the thought of running for the Alabama governer's seat on the Rebublican ticket in 1998, but later backed out, saying that he was a Republican until "they lost their minds."
But his most recent comments have stemmed from what he sees as a racial imbalance in the United States. "There's a perception among some black people that if you're not a thug or hood rat or if you don't wear your pants around by your a**, you're not black enough," he said during the radio interview last week. "They're always holding us back, plain and simple."
"The true story came out from the grand jury testimony," Barkley continued. "I can't believe anything I hear on television anymore. And, that's why I don't like talking about race issues with the media anymore, because they [the media] love this stuff, and lead people to jump to conclusions. The media shouldn't do that. They never do that when black people kill each other."
Barkley went on to show support for the police who work in black neighborhoods. "We have to be really careful with the cops, because if it wasn't for the cops we would be living in the wild, wild West in our neighborhoods," he said. "We can't pick out certain incidentals that don't go our way and act like the cops are all bad... Do you know how bad some of these neighborhoods would be if it wasn't for the cops?"
"One of the problems with this entire situation is there's so much noise going on," he said during the CNN interview. "You never get to the crux of the issue that you need to be discussing."