Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith square-off over Ferguson and New York

Two days ago, I mentioned Charles Barkley’s recent remarks affirming the Ferguson grand jury’s non-indictment. Since then, fellow commentator Kenny Smith has penned an open-letter that sharply disagrees with Barkley’s strident tone.

Yesterday, Barkley and Smith faced each other on the set of TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” Instead of discussing basketball in the opening segment, they spent about ten minutes talking out their differences. Shaq made some comments as well. Be warned that Barkley has some salty language near the end, so you might not want to watch this one with your kiddos around. Nevertheless, I think it’s helpful to hear conversations like this one.


  • joeblankenship

    What a society we live in! Former basketball players – who know a lot about basketball – get to give their opinion. They are black men & I guess that qualifies them on one level. They don’t appear to be well read on the subject. They don’t come at the issues from a God-centered, biblically informed viewpoint. So – the only difference in their opinion and any black man on the street in my home town is they get a wider hearing by having a show about basketball.

  • Jon Hall

    Wow… that was extremely level headed discussion. My point in both of these situations is what Shaq stated… it’s not always about race.

  • James Stanton

    I had not viewed this segment so thanks for posting it, Denny. Quite interesting. I thought Charles explained himself very well. You have to judge each case on the merits. However, I’m reluctant to criticize those who see this as simply another example of oppressive government treatment when most other ethnic groups have not had those kinds of shared experiences in the US. Law enforcement and the judicial system needs to be consistently fair and impartial and there is some doubt as to whether this is the case across the country.

    • Brian Holland

      Reluctant to criticize? Here’s what Kenny Smith said in his open letter to Barkley “what I consistently find interesting is how writers and media members view your insights in politics, and now race relations, with the same reverence as your insights in sports. They did it in the Trayvon Martin trial and now with Mike Brown and the decision in Ferguson. It’s not that you shouldn’t ever have an opinion, but you are often quoted alongside the likes of Al Sharpton and even President Obama.”

      So Al Sharpton and Obama have credibility on these issues? And Barkley is just an Uncle Tom because he won’t embrace the counter-productive, self-destructive, hatred of the two men he holds in such high esteem?

      • Esther O'Reilly

        Eeeeek. That’s pretty snarky. And I agree, what’s this about “the likes of” Al Sharpton and President Obama? You mean rabble-rousing race-baiters who don’t know what the heck they’re talking about? The “likes of” those? Thank you, but I’ll take Barkley’s level-headed realism any day.

  • Travis Ash

    That was an awesome discussion. One thing I do want to note though … even though Barkley’s expertise is in basketball (as Kenny Smith pointed out), doesn’t make him any more or less qualified to share his view about the situation. He provided some really good arguments/reasons, and everyone should weigh his take on the situation based on his reasoning, and argument, not simply because he’s famous.

    • James Stanton

      I agree with this although I think Barkley’s comments were elevated mostly because his was a prominent and agreeable black voice of the counter-narrative. I think Kenny was trying to dismiss Charles Barkley’s argument by stating that his opinions are less credible because he was a basketball player and not a political or social analyst.

      He and Kenny are actually arguing over two different things. Barkley condemned the looters and rioters and is not wrong in doing so. Kenny was addressing why he thinks some resort to such violence and that there needs to be a solution to the underlying problems. That’s actually the more controversial position to take but it won’t get the media attention.

  • Esther O'Reilly

    I couldn’t agree more with Charles, but some of Kenny’s comments don’t really seem based on reality. He’s comparing the black people’s situation to being on an island cut off from all supplies, implying that black people are being discriminated against or having things withheld from them. While it’s true that such communities are caught in a vicious cycle of poverty, Kenny seems to be disregarding the fact that many young black men and women have in fact risen above their circumstances and found that they were able to make something of themselves, just like a person of any other ethnicity who chose to rise above. And I’m not necessarily talking about becoming a lawyer or a doctor, I’m just talking about young men and women who are earning an honest wage, getting married and staying married, taking care of their families—in other words, breaking the cycle. This completely fatalistic attitude is really not helpful to the black community.

Comment here. Please use FIRST and LAST name.