“I don’t think this one was like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery and things like that,” Barkley stated on Thursday during TNT’s pregame coverage of the Western Conference Finals. TNT and CNN are both owned by parent company WarnerMedia.
Barkley is hesitant to compare Taylor’s death to other cases leading to the deaths of unarmed African-Americans.
“I feel sad that this young lady lost her life,” said Barkley, a basketball Hall of Famer. “But I am worried to lump all these situations in together.”
“We do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop,” said Barkley, as Black Lives Matter protests continue nationwide following the outcome in Kentucky.
Shaquille O’Neal, Barkley’s TNT colleague and a fellow NBA Hall of Famer, concurred.
“I have to agree with Charles, this one is sort of lumped in,” said O’Neal during the broadcast. “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.”
In a video on TikTok, former NBA player Stephen Jackson, who was close friends with George Floyd, said Barkley was insensitive and heartless.
Lakers superstar LeBron James has been consistent in his outrage and calls for justice, a stance he reiterated publicly following his team’s win Thursday.
“We want justice, no matter how long it takes,” James said during his post-game interview on TNT.
“We’re here playing this game and it’s very challenging on us, it’s very difficult, but at the same time, our hearts [are] with that family… we hope for better days and to spread love and not hate,” James added.
Barkley and O’Neal, along with colleagues Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith, are next scheduled to be on the air on Saturday, as The NBA on TNT continues at 8 p.m. ET ahead of Game 5 between James’ Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets.