Charles Barkley: Ferguson Rioters Are Scumbags, Cops The Last Line Of Defense

Charles Barkley, the former NBA star, weighed in on the Ferguson decision controversy following the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown.

The NBA television commentator recently talked about the Ferguson decision on the Philadelphia-based Mike Missanelli Show on sports radio 97.5, particularly responding to the host’s premise that African Americans don’t trust the Darren Wilson grand jury findings or the American judicial system in general.

Barkley admitted that he is no expert on the case, and claimed he wasn’t taking sides, but reserved his harshest criticism for the media in losing its way and misleading viewers through its racially charged, ratings-driven coverage.

He also leveled strong criticism against those who engaged in violent acts last week in Ferguson, a St. Louis suburb. According to Barkley, the Ferguson looters weren’t real black people, “they were scumbags.” He insisted that the media prefers to put “negative” individuals on television rather than good, hard-working black people. He added that “there is no excuse for people to burn down buildings or police cars. That serves no purpose whatsoever.”

No stranger to controversy, Barkley made news in October by suggesting that street cred, including thug-like behavior, has become more important in some black communities than success. He reaffirmed that belief during the radio interview. “There is a faction of black people… when you try to do well in school, they tell you you’re acting white; when you speak intelligent, they tell you you are acting white…”

In July 2013, the basketball Hall of Famer said that based on the evidence, the George Zimmerman not guilty verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder case was fair even though he believed racial profiling had occurred in the confrontation.

As far as the evidence in the Darren Wilson case, Barkley admitted that he is learning new things about the deadly incident from the forensic evidence and wants to avoid a media-inspired rush to judgment before fully processing the grand jury report.

Referencing that several black witnesses agreed with Officer Wilson’s version of events, Barkley noted the following.

“And, that’s why I don’t like talking about racial stuff with the media anymore, because [the media] love this stuff… controversy sells unfortunately. It’s just an awful situation, a young kid got killed. The cops are the last line of defense. We shouldn’t just jump to conclusions. The media shouldn’t do that. They never do that when black people kill each other.”

In the interview, Barkley also disagreed with efforts to demonize all police officers.

“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.. We can’t pick out certain incidents 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?”


Before moving on to other topics, Barkley admitted to Mike Missanelli that he is deeply saddened by the amount of black-on-black crime that occurs in the city of Philadelphia where he spends his summers.

He said, “Every single day… black-on-black crime is an epidemic, and nobody goes crazy.”

Delving into an unrelated matter, Barkley chided Obama, of whom he has been a strong supporter, for the president’s reluctance to put boots on the ground in Iraq to fight ISIS given that airstrikes are insufficient to eliminate the terrorist army.

For the entire Charles Barkley interview on 97.5, click here.

Do you agree or disagree with Charles Barkley’s views on the Ferguson decision?

[photo credit: Gallery 2 Images]