NBA legend and sports commentator Charles Barkley, who is no stranger to voicing his opinion, feels that with the current environment surrounding police reform and police brutality, with players concentrating more on placing messages on the back of their jerseys, fans may miss the message.
The NBA Hall of Fame player said his “concern is this is turning this into a circus instead of trying to do some good stuff, ” according to an interview he did on CNBC last week.
Barkley, in a telephone interview last week with CNBC’S Power Lunch, discussed the matters that are circling the return of the NBA season from the disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“What’s happening now is we’re turning into a circus. Instead of talking about racial equality, racial justice, and economic justice, we spend all our time worrying about who’s kneeling and not kneeling, what things are being said on buses, what’s being said on jerseys. I think we’re missing the point.”
Nearly two weeks ago, the NBA stated that the league is allowing players to wear individual personalized jerseys with messages about social justice during the upcoming restart of the season.
As this would be an optional choice, Oklahoma City Thunder guard and union president Chris Paul had said the players will be given a list of suggestions for players looking for a cause to support. This could include utilizing phrases (like “Black Lives Matter” or “I Can’t Breathe”), names of social justice organizations, or the names of individuals who were killed by the police.
“We need police reform, prison reform. Those are No. 1 and No. 2 things to focus on. We need the cops, good cops out there policing bad cops …. When we spend time focusing on what’s on the jersey, that’s gonna defeat the purpose. My concern is this is turning into a circus instead of trying to do some good stuff.”
Barkley feels the fans need a break from what’s been going on in the last several months with the pandemic and people losing jobs.
“The last thing they want to do is turn on the television and hear arguments all the time. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the public reacts,” he said.