ROBERT L. MARONIC: Barkley Says He Would Assault Black Trump Supporters / Media Quick to Show Double Standard 

I always have liked Charles Barkley’s commentary on NBA basketball games for both TNT and CBS. As a television analyst he has always been refreshingly unfiltered, straightforward and succinct. Plus, he has a good sense of humor.

Unfortunately, his “commentary” on March 2 with Gayle King on CNN’s “King Charles” crossed the line of free speech in advocating violence. There was nothing humorous about what he said.

Barkley, who last year signed a ten-year contract with TNT for $100 million, and has a net worth of $50 million, stated “‘if I see a Black person walking around with a Trump mugshot [on his t-shirt], I’m gonna punch him in the face.'”

When King astonishingly responded, “‘You don’t mean that,'” the NBA Hall of Famer quickly answered, “‘Oh, I mean that sincerely!'”

Perhaps because of corporate pressure or genuine remorse, Barkley retracted his incendiary comments against black Trump supporters four days later on March 6.

He stated, “‘Obviously I’m not gonna go around punching random strangers in the face.” However, he added “‘I want to make it perfectly clear… If you’re a Black person and you’re wearing a Donald Trump mugshot, you are a freaking idiot.'”

The rotund Barkley obviously needs to exercise more self-control in the future. That is because impressionable children, gullible teenagers and foolish adults can easily act out the violent speech of a famous former athlete and role model.

However, what is troubling is that it took Barkley four long days to retract his comments. What is more troubling is that when I did a Google search for the phrase “Charles Barkley threatening to punch a black person with a Trump mugshot T-shirt” no mainstream news media reported his comments except for USA Today and Fox News despite reading the first thirty search results.

In my opinion, these results reeked of news suppression or censorship. I further suspect that if Barkley were white, he would never have had the opportunity to walk back or clarify his violent remarks.

If NFL football analyst Terry Bradshaw had stated that he would like to punch a white person wearing a picture of Biden on a t-shirt, I think that Fox Sports would have fired him within twelve hours or less of his incendiary comments with no opportunity for a retraction.

However, in regard to Barkley I will concede that he made an important point on March 6 when he stated “‘when Donald Trump compares his plight with that of the Black person, that is what I had a problem with.'”

Trump’s egotistical attempt to gain political sympathy with African Americans because of his Fulton County, Georgia mugshot is rather farcical and unrealistic because the forty-fifth president is a multi-billionaire, who can afford the best attorneys in the U.S. Most black Americans simply cannot.

The average black or white person would never be able to afford to have Trump’s legal representation in court or otherwise.

If Barkley had apologized within hours or even the next day after his threat of assaulting black Trump supporters, I probably would not have written this column. However, it took him four days to retract and clarify his remarks. That was way too long, and it hurts his credibility going forward.

However, what Barkley’s “commentary,” also told me was that the mainstream news media with the exception of Fox News and USA Today plays favorites, and failed to report what occurred during his CNN interview with Gail King on March 2.

The journalistic double standard in the U.S. is alive and well in 2024.

News suppression or censorship in the interest of partisan politics, in my opinion, is just as dangerous if not more dangerous than Barkley’s dangerous remarks

Thankfully, nobody has been seriously hurt since March 2. My advice to Barkley is that he needs to stick to sports and not politics like Michael Jordan.

– Robert L. Maronic

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