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Memo to Charles Barkley: Shut Up On Zimmerman Verdict

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Sometimes—OK, a lot of times—you want to tell Charles Barkley to just shut up. This is one of those times.

It is often refreshing when the former NBA star waxes humorously about basketball or personalities or even politics. The mouth-all-mighty finds no topic he does not have an opinion on to spew.

In some ways, it is admirable that he is not afraid to speak his truth, however silly it might be at times.

But saying, as he did on CNBC’s Closing Bell Thursday, that the George Zimmerman verdict of acquittal of killing Trayvon Martin was proper, makes one cringe.

Of course, Barkley is entitled to his opinion. But the very fans who admire his audacity—black men—take this position as a personal affront.

This was a case where Barkley would have been wiser to take a middle-of-the-road approach. Black America is incensed, heart-broken, disenchanted and even disbelieving that a man responsible for the death of a teenager who was minding his business, bothering no one, talking to a friend on the phone  was found not guilty on Saturday night of his death.

After days of tears, expressions of anger and vows to be more active in addressing injustice and racial bias, no one wanted or needed to hear Barkley say, “I agree with the verdict.”

It gives the impression that he is a privileged black man in white America, unaware and inexperienced in the racial harassment black men encounter daily just for being black.

For sure, life is different for Barkley; he’s a mammoth figure and personality, a recognizable millionaire who surely receives preferential treatment most everywhere he goes. But one of the worst things he can do—or say—is project that he is disconnected from the community from which he comes. He’s from Leeds, Alabama, for crying out loud.

If he just had to comment on the verdict, it would have been more sophisticated for him to take a different approach. To the cynic, it sounds like he is more interested in coddling to the right wing that historically has expressed through words, actions and legislation its disregard for blacks.

“I’m sorry that young kid got killed,” Barkley said, “but they didn’t have enough evidence to charge him.”


He went on to say that “racial profiling” took place, but spit out the same gibberish the defense laid out, that “something happened that changed the dynamic that night.”

Barkley added: “Trayvon Martin, God rest his soul, he did flip the switch and start beating the hell out of Mr. Zimmerman.”

Barkley, like those who support the verdict, seemed to disregard that the changed dynamic came when Zimmerman followed Martin, who even ran in an attempt to elude the borderline stalker. Barkley, of all people, should understand Martin’s right to defend himself when confronted.

After all, this is the same Barkley who blatantly elbowed a puny player from Angola during the 1996 Olympics because Barkley said the player had elbowed him.

This is the same Barkley who threw a heckling fan through a window in a Milwaukee bar during an altercation, the same Barkley who consistently fought when confronted in non-life-threatening situations.

And now, when a man follows and approaches a kid in the dark, Barkley holds it against the teen that he defended himself? Weak.

His view is “probably not a popular opinion among most people,” he conceded, but “looking at the evidence,” Barkley said he concurred with the jury of six white women.


Barkley being Barkley, he continued his outspoken nonsense by attacking the media covering the case, saying it does not have a “pure heart” on race.

“Racism is wrong in any shape or form,” Barkley said. You think?

“A lot of black people are racist too,” he went on to say. “I think sometimes when people talk about racism, they say only white people are racist, but I think black people are too. I don’t think the media has clean hands.”

Here’s an idea, Chuck: Stick to talking basketball.

But Barkley being Barkley, he just cannot shut his pie hole. Of the pundits, he mused: “Every white person and black person who is racist (used) the platform to vent their ignorance. That’s the thing that bothered me the most. I watched this trial closely. I watched these people on television talking about it. A lot of these people have a hidden agenda. They want to have their racist views, whether they are white or black. . . Their biases come out.”

Barkley’s bias is toward shock value. And what was he doing on CNBC anyway? Basketball season is a ways away.

For sure, Barkley’s right to express his opinion is equal to anyone’s. But five days after the verdict, it would have been nice if he had offered ways to come together in peace or how to deal with Florida’s sick laws that would allow an aggressor to stalk a kid, shoot him through the heart and walk out of court a free man.

Better yet, it would have been better if Barkley had just kept his mouth shut.

What people are saying

86 thoughts on “Memo to Charles Barkley: Shut Up On Zimmerman Verdict

  1. Charles Barkley you are a wrong and insensitve son of a bitch for your comments on this verdict.What zimmeran did was morally wrong.I could go on and on about your black priviledge ass. You need to shut the hell up about this one uncle Tom. Give me a call at (229)412-2399

  2. Michael Kish says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that whenever a black person disagrees with the majority he's an uncle tom. The jury has spoken and everyone has to respect the outcome just like we had to respect the outcome of other famous trials. Just about every knew OJ was guilty just as just about everyone knew Zimmerman was guilty. This is our legal system and both men were found not guilty by a jury of their peers. I know not getting your way can be difficult to deal with but this has been blown so far out of proportion it's become disgusting.

  3. Barkley is one intelligent and honest black man

  4. If the tables were turned trayvon would have been guilty in my eye.He should have stay in his truck like he was told to do.If I was being followed by someone I didn't know I would be ready to defend myself.thThis kid would be alive today if he would have followed orders.

  5. Jon King says:

    Barkley would have been shot and killed several times in his life then. He punched 3 guys who stalked him, he threw a guy into a window, he used a sign post to defend himself from a guy who chased him. Barkley has lost all touch with his own reality as a young man.

  6. I knew it wouldn't take long for the name-calling to begin. If a black doesn't agree with a black "issue" — right or wrong — then the insults start rolling in. "shut the hell up" – "insenstve (sic) son of a bitch" – "black priviledge (sic) ass" – "uncle Tom" – and who can beat "zimmeran (sic)." Not only an insulting comment, but Tina Anderson shows a lack of education in spelling and is a college student? Perhaps you ought to start hitting the books.

  7. Bobby Edwards says:

    Very Nice Article. And it was even nice enough to highlights some of Barkley's good points or credits. Well, N my mind… Trayvon Martin had far more Good credits than bad…but he was canceled out in spite of it. I want 2 flip the script N Barkley's case, and cancel out his good 4 how he represented that jury who found GZ Not Guilty. Does that make me any better or worse than Barkley? I don't think so. But if I had a 'MIC' and a big stage, I could at least do a sound check on behalf of Trayvon Martin.

  8. I know how to spell. I was texting fast because I can't get a grip of texting on this phone.I'm not a college student and. By no means dumb like you think black people are.If you want to talk about this issue Betty give me a call. My phone number is posted in black and white for the world to see.

  9. Curtis, he has a point. We may or may not agree with him, but why does he have to go middle of the road or shut up? The entire country can have an opinion, but he can't?

  10. Walter Banks Beacham says:

    Sir Charles, was correct about one thing. That George Zimmerman was getting his ass kicked. Now, all Sir Charles has to do is to debate me the cocoa butter brother. and I'll give them a lesson and knowledge of basketball and politics.

  11. Anonymous says:

    You write the inflammatory articles you have written and blame Barkley for not offering ways to come together in peace? Ok, what are your solutions? Telling people to shut their piehole? I hear everybody saying we need a discussion on race but when anybody says something that blacks don't like they are an uncle tom or racist if they are white. A 4 year old black girl was shot this morning in Oakland. Drive by shot through the wall. Where is your outrage? Where are your articles? There won't be one because it was a drive by and (uh-oh, profiling) yes, it was a black gang banger. They haven't caught him yett, but how much do oyu want to bet he is black? Write an article……

  12. Ugly Betty……I'm waiting on that phone call.

  13. Irving Louis Lattin says:

    Thanks for posting this article,, Bobby. I read it and just had to read all of the comments following it as well. Wanted to know what other folks thought.. Very informative !!! Charles Barkley has a right to his opinion whether we other black folks like it or not !!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    I can tell you went to Valdosta State. Your idea of a debate is to insult. Put a picture up, fatso.

  15. Call me Mike. You know the number don't be afraid. I'm not the one for texting or facebook.I like face to face or phone calls.

  16. This is for everyone…… I'm not a facebook fan or facebook junkie. Facebook is nothing but drama.I was angered by charles Barkley comments,by being a black man he should know what they deal with everyday. Maybe he forgot when he became rich and black. IT WAS MORALLY WRONG WHAT ZIMMERMAN DID AND I STAND MY GROUND ON THAT ISSUE. I'm not a racist I have white friends and would defend them when their morally right and not morally wrong.Regardless of what the laws state

  17. Curtis Bunn says:

    Mike, you're way off base. This column is not inflammatory. I stated an opinion and backed it up. Meanwhile, you're making inflammatory comments about a "black gang banger." Why are you going there when the piece was about a former athlete's comments? Says something about YOU!!!

  18. Curtis Bunn says:

    Michael, no one uttered or wrote the phrase "Uncle Tom." YOU did.

  19. Curtis Bunn says:

    Mike, that's not nice or gentlemanly.

  20. Curtis Bunn says:

    Harvey, saying to "shut up" is only metaphorically, not literally. Shut up? He's already said what he has to say. I was just making a point. We all have our views and sometimes we agree and sometimes we don't. Also, Harvey, I wrote TWICE in the piece that he has the right to his opinion. Don't get all sensitive on me.

  21. Curtis Bunn says:

    Yeah, OK, Jerome, right…

  22. Curtis Bunn says:

    The piece is just one man's opinion–mine. No need for anyone to take it personally. EVERYONE, as I pointed out TWICE in the piece, is entitled to his opinion, and we can agree to disagree if need be.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, Curtis, but you are wrong. Read Tina's response tp Barkley. She called him an uncle tom. I responded to her. And she also called Betty ugly but that doesn't seem to bother you. But me calling her fatso in response is so wrong….

  24. Mike, I don't need anyone to speak for me. I can hold my own.You need to let Betty speak for herself. How dare she trys to attack my intelligence and I not comment on it.

  25. Mike, I don't need anyone to speak for me. I can hold my own.You need to let Betty speak for herself. How dare she trys to attack my intelligence and I not comment on it.

  26. Sheree Clay says:

    I might have to put Charles in the same category as Dennis Rodman. Ridiculous

  27. Sometimes, Charles Barkley has a way of saying things at the most inopportune time. You gotta remember, this is the same man who said he hated white people at the 1996 NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix.

  28. Cheryl PoeticOne Thomas says:

    He has always been an idiot.

  29. Phillip Parrish says:


  30. Great piece Bunn! The powers that be continue to benefit from the ignorant, like Barkley, who speak before they think. Zimmerman stalked and "hunted Trayvon down" like prey, with a flashlight and a gun, after the police told him not to follow that innocent child. Only an a__hole, like Barkely and jury B37 could not tell that Zimmerman was lying. Last, Zimmerman did not have to kill that boy. The police were on the way and several residents were coming to the scene. He killed that kid because he could no afford for the "real truth" to be told!

  31. This is why I like your writing Curtis Bunn. I see where you are coming from. I also agree with him. I'm not SENSITIVE!!! LOL!!!

  32. Morgan Freeman, bill Cosby and a slew of other black men have said the same thing as Barkley

  33. If Trayvon was such an innocent "child" and only went to get skittes, why did he lay in the morgue for 3 days before he was reported missing?

  34. Marcus Smith says:

    When Barkley learns how to talk in complete sentences I will at least try to hear what he has to say. The guy cant speak well enough to be on TV let alone comment on such a touchy subject as race. This was a case of murder and who cares if Barkley or any other so called famous person speaks out about how they feel. They only voice you will never hear again is Trayvon. To end this I think Barkly should stick to talking basketball and that's something he still cant get right.

  35. Marcus Smith says:

    Jerome Daigle, are you trying to be funny or what? I notice you had to had what color he is, why was that important to say?

  36. Marcus Smith says:

    Yes he is brain less!!!

  37. Marcus Smith says:

    Mike, If you really wanted to talk about race, the chance has been their for many years and yet nothing is said. Stop picking out each time a black person is killed and saying, "see" it happen again and nobody is doing anything. When you truly learn your history and the millions on top of millions of people you have killed all over this world you will stop talking like murder is something mutually exclusive to black people. You want to talk then talk but don't hide from your past and present!!

  38. Marcus Smith says:

    Betty for real?

  39. Curtis Bunn says:

    Jose Lopez Maldonado , then I say the same to Freeman, Cosby and the others.

  40. Marcus Smith says:

    How can you get closed minds to open up and think? Sometimes you cant. I think what you wrote just flew over some peoples head!!

  41. Curtis Bunn says:

    Totally agree, Derryl!!!! Thanks for your perspective.

  42. THe comment in 1996 has taken is 17yrs of growth and information. The past is the past we deal with the present with the presence of mind. I think Charles had great contents in his statement.

  43. Curtis Bunn says:

    Mike Henningsen I didn't call him an Uncle Tom. I made my case in print. Thanks for reading. We can agree to disagree.

  44. Marcus Smith says:

    Tina, you don't have to explain anything to her, just like Trayvon did not have to stop and acknowledge Zimmerman, we don't have to answer to how you feel or think. And since she is perfect and always spells every word right, you could never be on her level anyway, perfection is hard to match!!

  45. So,so,so true, Derryl you could not have said that any better.

  46. His life was taken 70 yards from his home, 3 days before they realized he was missing? come on guys… no supervision..

  47. so you are right and they are wrong?

  48. Yesterday I listened to a man I highly respect, Gov. Huckabee, spew what about what a wonderful family Trayvon came from. Gov. Huckabee is a Brother in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. I rather expected more of him. Trayvon’s parents don’t have the same last name. Trayvon’s biological “Baby Daddy” was living with his “fiance.” (Within the African American community sub-culture in America the two of them were “shacking up.”) Trayvon was in fact, for all intents and purposes a de facto fatherless “Black” child. Trayvon’s Baby Daddy, living the distance that he lived from Miami, where his Baby Momma lived, was in fact, by definition an absentee father.

    Then today on ‘The Five’ I heard Bob Beckel say that Zimmerman “profiled” Trayvon because he was Black; that the incident would not have taken place if Trayvon had been White. That message being is being pushed across the racist spectrum of media instigators. Zimmerman stated in his phone call to the police that he saw an individual skulking around behind units in his housing complex in the rain at that early hour of the morning in the dark, not a person walking in such a manner as might be described as purposefully down a sidewalk. I recall the words “between the buildings” were used to emphasize the suspicious positioning of the person who Zimmerman was watching. When the dispatcher asked about the apparent color of the individual, what was Zimmerman’s response? “Black, I think.” Zimmerman was not even sure if the person he was observing was Black! The message that Zimmerman had observed an African American male and recognizing his skin color as being black proceeded to stalk the innocent young man is being forced upon the narrative with no evidence to support that such is the case.

  49. Jose Lopez Maldonado…….He was reported missing the following day by his father. Please get your emotions out the way, and get your facts straight. No one is trying to change how you are, nor your opinion….That's God's job!

  50. 1 day? does trhat help the situation? if my child is missing for 1 hr Im concerned.

  51. I abhor the killing of a child as much as you do, many factors came into play that evening, I respect your opinion, and I expect you to respect mine, Barkley's opinion should be respected also

  52. Vanessa Martin says:

    Jose Lopez Maldonado that is un true prove it

  53. Vanessa Martin says:

    Jose Lopez Maldonado you is a lie when go to the police after we see fit, us blacks don't have the same privilege as whites that is just the way it is, when we call the police we might go to jail or get killed that is just the way it is, get some knowledge

  54. Amen! Another fool that forgot where he came from when he got to the top. After looking up who he is married to, that explains alot of his delusion.

  55. Marcus Smith says:

    No matter how much some of you try, your comments are always about race!! Jose Lopez Maldonado, you see how crazy you sound? You get your information from the news and you run with it like its all facts!!!

  56. Bryant Wi says:

    Because he agrees with racist white folks? Barkley is a fool!

  57. Jason Ohler says:

    Dear Marcus, who cares if you or any other so called "black" person speaks out about how they feel… especially since you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Do everyone a favor and watch the videos of the trail before you open your big (and uninformed) mouth.

    …and quit acting like Trayvon being killed was the biggest tragedy to ever happen… what about all of the other blacks killed by OTHER BLACKS… every… single… day!

    You are truly a hypocrite.

  58. Jason Ohler says:

    Neither was your article, Curtis…

    How about you just read these directions:
    1) Take foot
    2) Insert into big, fat mouth

  59. its all true, look up the autopsy report, and the records of the cel phone.

  60. you want to hide the facts and make up your own as you go along.

  61. what? I don't see anyone attacking that dumb statement. I suggest you start getting your info from someone other the Al Sharpton

  62. that was for Vanessa

  63. Marcus Smith please share your source of information so I may be as informed as you…

  64. Charles Barkley is a ignorant fool! Have you watched him on TNT during NBA season! He is an embarrassment to the black race! Ya"ll can have him! He's yours for the whipping!!

  65. Anonymous says:

    "Sometimes, Charles Barkley has a way of saying things at the most inopportune time"…

    What's inopportune about the facts?

  66. Jennie Pless says:

    Unfortunately Mr. Bunn, this case has proven that people are still going to attack for personal opinion. It's sad. My opinion…every word that you said was true and to the point. If anyone argues that, truly they are closed minded. However, I will respect their opinion.

  67. Jennie Pless says:

    Even if he remained unclaimed for 3 days, that didn't make him a bad child…like you said, he was a "Child". Why would you even say that? Now you are stating opinions about his character based on the fact that he was in the morgue for 3 days…can't you see that you are victimizing this kid once again? Can't you see that you are killing his memory and character? You people are so depressing, its so sad…Also Mr. Maldonado, his parents looked for him, desperately. I have a question for you, "Why did it take the police so long to just open this boys telephone and call someone…anyone?" That should be one of the first things that they do. Why did this teenage child remain in the morgue, while his parents frantically searched for him, and not a single person thought to do what is standard, and call the numbers in this phone?

  68. Jennie Pless says:

    Marcus, I like you. You don't let one of these ignorant statements fly….good for you!

  69. That was not the intention, It was merely to point out the lack of supervision and a stable environment. no, he was in the morgue for one day, and the father had wen to sleep and did not realize he was missing until the next ay.

  70. His fathers stated that in a interview

  71. How do you they did not call anyone?

  72. Ms Pless, I am not defending Zimmerman, He is an adult, he should have acted in a responsible manner. He should have been convicted of a lesser form of murder. but unfortunately the jury was not given that option, and that is what Barkley is saying.

  73. do you respect his opinion?

  74. change needs to come about, these senseless murders need to stop.

  75. Mbizi Mshra says:

    This is the dummy that spit into the crowd during a game, and spat on a little girl. Barkley is a ignorant clown. He's a buffoon! To really epitomize just how stupid Barkley is, because everything we do in life is a reflection of mental aptitude; our ability to use our brains to figure things out; just look at that dummies golf swing. His golf swing is dumb and stupid because he's dumb and stupid. That buffoon has never been conscious of anything, let alone the struggle of people of Afrikan Descent. Barkley is just simply a literal, and complete moron.

  76. Marcus Smith says:

    Jason Ohler, who are you? Go away!!!! I can say what the hell I want to say on my page, Why should I watch the so called video, because you told me to? Maybe you have a gun and you kill people like your friend George Zimmerman? I'm scared of you so go away!!!

  77. Darryl Hines says:

    What I don't understand is why was it that Barkley of all people given a platform on this issue? Did the press seek him out knowing that he'd express of viewpoint that would go against the grid, at least the way African-Americans feel about the subject or did his publicist offer him up just so he could get in front of the camera in an effort to keep Sir Charles relevant and to further ingratiate him with the dominate culture that he has long courted? With it all said and done he has an opinion and like buttholes, everyone has one. I just don't care to hear or respect Charles'. As a lawyer I wouldn't expect most to highly regard my opinions about the NBA and as a ball player, I don't think most folks give high regards to Barkley's opinion about the case unless you're an ideologue who thinks the same way he does.

  78. How was Zimmerman lying? He didn't even take the stand you ignorant dumbass!

  79. He needs to stay in his Lane: Basketball and sports!!

  80. Anonymous says:

    Jerome is trying to be funny and he is a racist why couldn't he be just an intelligent man why a black man…Trayvn had a right to hold his ground down as well…white people have been getting away with killing blacks for years from the burnings to the hangings to dismembering body parts and no law or person was there to protect blacks…this country has been against us for years, I never liked Barkley ofcourse his uncle tom self would agree with zimmerman hes been married to a white woman for years and always picking at black people I guess he feels white or accepted or an exception now.

  81. Jose Lopez Maldonado That said they are just as ignorant. and WFN'S

  82. Jose Lopez Maldonado That said they are just as ignorant. and WFN'S

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