NBA legend slammed for Breonna Taylor take

NBA great Charles Barkley has sparked a social media firestorm after making comments that the death of Breonna Taylor is different to the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.

Athletes from around the world have been outspoken over the Black Lives Matter campaign with NBA players among the leaders following the deaths.

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But US sports figures expressed their dismay and called for police reform after charges were filed on Wednesday in the shooting death of Taylor.

While many have been calling for the police to be arrested – including six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton who wore a shirt with the message “Arrest the cops to killed Breonna Taylor” after winning the Tuscan Grand Prix – only one of the officers, Detective Brett Hankison, was charged with three counts of “wanton endangerment” over shots fired into adjoining apartments.

Taylor, an emergency room technician, was shot dead after three plainclothes policemen turned up at her door in the middle of the night to execute a no-knock search warrant.

Neither Hankison nor the two officers who fired the shots that killed Taylor were charged in direct connection with her death.

“Something was done, but it wasn’t enough. Most guys thought it was definitely not enough,” Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green told reporters after the team trained in the NBA’s quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.

Chuck’s comments stirred up social media.Source:AFP

But speaking on NBA on TNT before Thursday‘s game between the Lakers and Denver Nuggets, Barkley said the situation wasn’t comparable with other high-profile deaths.

“I don’t think this one was like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery and things like that,” Barkley began. “I feel sad that this young lady lost her life. I think this one was — the no-knock warrant is something we need to get rid of … across the board. But I am worried to lump all these situations in together.

“And I just feel bad that the young lady lost her life. But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop. So like I say, even though I am really sorry she lost her life, I just don‘t think we can put this in the same situation as George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery.”

Charles Barkley says you can't put the Breonna Taylor case in the same situation as George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery because her boyfriend shot at the police pic.twitter.com/8dMjVMZp39

Fellow NBA legend Shaquille O‘Neal backed up his co-host.

“I have to agree with Charles, this one is sort of lumped in,” O‘Neal said. “You have to get a warrant signed and some states do allow no-knock warrants. And everyone was asking for murder charges. When you talk about murder, you have to show intent. A homicide occurred and we’re sorry a homicide occurred. When you have a warrant signed by the judge, you are doing your job, and I would imagine that you would fire back.”

But Barkley wasn’t done, taking aim at the “defund the police” movement.

“I hear these fools on TV talk about ‘defund the police,’ we need police reform and prison reform and things like that because you know who ain’t gonna defund the cops, white neighbourhoods and rich neighbourhoods,” Barkley added.

“So that notion that they keep saying that, I’m like wait a minute who are Black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters? We need police reform.”

Social media was quick to pounce on the comments, and while some praised Barkley’s take, there was a deluge of comments against the 1993 MVP and 11 time All-Star.

Once again #CharlesBarkley is uninformed and unable to articulate a cogent thought about nuanced.

I don't even know why people are surprised at this point. These comments are on-brand for Charles Barkley. https://t.co/bvIL2EE9bb

Would someone tell Charles Barkley I said to sit his Bama behind down and shut up?

Thank you very much.#JusticeForBreonnaTaylor pic.twitter.com/PtbVYYkAKk

What planet does Charles Barkley live on?

I didn’t know I could be this disgusted by Charles Barkley.

I just….like…why read Bron's very heartfelt tweet about Breonna Taylor, only to follow it up w/ Charles Barkley basically saying, "It's sad, but her boyfriend fired first so….*kanye shrug*"

Please stop talking about things if you don't have the range. It's okay to be quiet

Charles Barkley is right how can we compare Breonna Taylor’s murder to George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery? We didn’t get to see hers…

LeBron James took to social media after the charges were revealed but became emotional when speaking about Taylor after the Laker took a 3-1 lead over the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals.

“I don’t want to get into the case or things of that nature, but I know that we lost a beautiful woman in Breonna that has no say so in what’s going on right now,” he said. “We want justice no matter how long it takes, even though it’s been so many days, so many hours, so many minutes for her family, for her community.

“I’ve got a daughter of mine at home, and a wife and my mom. So many predominant Black women in my life, to think about if they weren’t here the next day, or if they were gunned down, it would be something I would never be able to forgive myself or forgive who did it.

“We’re here playing this game and it’s very challenging on us and it’s very difficult, but at the same, time our hearts are with that family, with that city. It’s just so unjust what’s going on. Sorry to be so long-winded. It’s a tragedy, it’s a tragedy and we just hope that there’s better days. You hope for better days and to spread love and not hate, because that’s what it all boils down to.”

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr spoke about the grand jury decision to The Athletic after his NBA team trained in California.

“It’s just so demoralising. It’s so discouraging,” Kerr said. “I just keep thinking about the generation of American kids of any colour. Is this way the way we want to raise them? Is this the country we want to live in? There’s just so much violence and it’s demoralising when we can’t be accountable or hold anyone to account for it.”

Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown wasn’t expecting Taylor’s killers to be indicted.

“To be honest I wasn’t surprised by the verdict,” Brown said after Wednesday night’s playoff game. “This society, the way it was built … its intentions were to never protect and serve people of colour.”

— with AFP

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