Former NBA star Charles Barkley has never been shy about either his political beliefs or his thoughts about what the 'black community' should do in the wake of riots and protests over police shootings.
Barkley waded into the issue of Black Lives Matter activism a couple weeks ago, when he told ESPN’s “The Dan Le Batard Show”:
“The cops have made some mistakes; black people have made some mistakes.
We have to sit back and be honest with each other. The cops have made some mistakes, that don’t give us the right to riot and shoot cops.”
“Black people only like you when you say what they want you to say. I'm a big boy. I can handle the heat.”
Talk about heat. Barkley waded straight into the fire:
“If it wasn't for the cops we'd be living in the wild, wild west. It's not as simple as that 'it's always the cops fault'. We as black people have made some mistakes. We've got to do better.”
He wasn't done:
“Cops are important, they're very significant. We as black people have to do a better job of policing ourselves. The cops have made some mistakes, I think everybody has to admit that, but we can't as black people, every time something goes wrong think 'it's the cop's fault.'”
And then Barkley had one question for 'activists' who have battled with him over his remarks:
"The only problem with black people you got too many black people acting like they're activists and they're not doing anything to help the black community. They're part of the problem, not part of the solution. Don't just get on TV and say you're an activist.
What have you done to actually enhance the black community?"
So how does he answer his own question? Barkley explained how he got into it with an activist recently and answered that very question:
“I told this guy, you don't even want to get into what I've done cuz I'm just going to embarrass you. I said I've given like $13 million out of my own pocket. He said 'what?' I said 'Yeah, but don't you worry about it. You ain't never gonna have that much to give away.' And he tried to counter me and I said, 'you can go check my bank account, brother.'”
Then he ticked off his gob-smacking checklist:
"I gave a million dollars to my high school to send black kids to college.
I gave a million dollars to an all black high school in Alabama to send kids to college.
I gave Auburn two million dollars.
I just gave Morehouse in Atlanta a million.
I just gave Wounded Warriors a million.
I gave Hurricane Katrina a million."
Barkley's parting shot was, “Don't tell me about being black. I say what the hell I want to say. My track record speaks.”
His feelings on the subject appear to be distilled in this recent tweet:
You can hear the full Barkley interview with “The Bleacher Report,” below: