Charles Barkley has often joked about the Jussie Smollett case, but this time he took on a serious tone to discuss how its outcome could possibly affect minorities in the future.
During an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, the NBA legend said he believed that the case would bring serious repercussions to the black community just a day after all the charges against the Empire actor were dropped by Chicago prosecutors. Smollett had been accused by the Chicago Police Department of staging his own attack, but he has claimed his innocence throughout the whole ordeal. As reported by The Daily Mail, Barkley said he thinks everybody loses from a situation like this, especially minorities who are often targeted in hate crimes.
“I think my black friends, my gay black friends, I think they lose because there’s repercussions when you’re a minority. There’s always a double standard. You have to understand and accept that. For every black, gay person out there, we lost. And it’s unfortunate,” he told the late-night host, adding that he doesn’t personally know the Hollywood actor and that he wishes him the best, but people have to “look at the bigger picture.”
He also made the point that the black community has had trust issues and a “tenuous relationship” with the police for years and that the result of this case could fuel further resentment from the police toward African-Americans across the country.
“The bottom line is, everybody lost in this scenario. It’s not good.”
Just last month, Barkley made headlines for his humorous take on the whole Smollett situation, joking on live television that people who “commit illegal activity” should not “write checks,” in reference to the CPD’s claim that the actor had paid his alleged attackers by writing them a check.
“If you’re gonna break the law, do not write a check. Get cash, man!” he joked during the half-time coverage of the Houston Rockets-Los Angeles Lakers game on TNT.
He also laughed about the allegation that the two Nigerian brothers who Smollett allegedly paid to hurt him bought the majority of their equipment from one store only, as surveillance camera footage shows. But despite all the public outcry, a shocking turn of events took place on Tuesday when the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office released a statement announcing that all 16 charges against the Empire star would be dropped as he has complied with the terms of their agreement, which included doing community service and forfeiting his $10,000 bond.