As soon as the exchange surfaced online, a lot of people weighed in on it. Some thought Fournette was justified in standing up for himself, especially after he claimed the fan called him a racial slur. But others said the 23-year-old should’ve kept his cool, regardless of what was said to him.
TMZ caught up with retired NBA legend Charles Barkley since the incident occurred and asked him about pro athletes being heckled at games. He was also asked about Fournette.
Barkley’s comments come on the heels of several recent high-profile incidents of athlete-fan confrontations, including the Warriors’ Kevin Durant, as well as Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell, who went into the stands to confront a fan last week.
“I think you have to be careful, and I always get nervous when people play the race card, because that’s a very dangerous subject,” said Barkley when he was asked about Fournette. “But you got to be careful because you can’t hit a fan because they’re just going to sue you. So you have nothing to gain … First of all, most of the fans are amazing. But there’s a certain fan base that are crazy, and you just got to walk away.”
“They would never say that to you and fight you in the streets,” he continued. “But if you hit them you’re going to lose a lot of money. Also, if you hit a fan and hurt them you might kill them. I don’t want to sound morbid. … But the main thing is, man, you got to just walk away.”
Barkley also said players that shouldn’t even argue with fans, because it won’t do them any good at all.
The “Round Mound of Rebound,” an 11-time NBA All-Star whose 16 seasons in the league spanned the years 1984 to 2000, has quite a bit of first-hand experience with the issue of confrontations with fans, including his dust-up from October 1997 when he threw a man through a bar window.
You can see him discuss the topic below.