Hall of Fame NBA player Charles Barkley criticized recent anti-Semitic incidents involving entertainer Nick Cannon, former NBA player and ESPN analyst Stephen Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and rapper Ice Cube.
“I’m so disappointed in these men, but I don’t understand how you beat hatred with more hatred,” Barkley said. “That stuff should never come up in your vocabulary, and that stuff should never come up in your heart. I don’t understand it and I’m never going to accept it.”
Barkley made the comments on Friday’s episode of his podcast “The Steam Room,” which he co-hosts with fellow NBA analyst Ernie Johnson.
“What the hell are y’all doing?” Barkley asked. “Y’all want racial equality. We all do. I don’t understand how insulting another group helps our cause. I don’t understand in any shape or form.”
“We can’t allow Black people to be prejudiced also, especially if we’re asking for white folks to respect us, give us economic opportunity and things like that,” the legendary basketball player said. “If you want respect, you got to give respect.”
“Especially at a time when you’re asking people to respect Black people, that black lives matter, this whole George Floyd thing has opened up a great dialogue to some of the problems in the black community,” Barkley pointed out. “I don’t want to alienate anybody, and to take shots at the Jewish, the white race, I just don’t like it, cause it’s not right.”
Barkley said that he could never say the hateful things that Cannon, Stephen Jackson, DeSean Jackson, or Ice Cube are accused of saying.
“I ain’t never gonna say something bad about another ethnic group,” Barkley said. “Never, ever. That’s not in my heart. That’s not in my soul. That’s not in my DNA.”
Barkley praised fellow NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for condemning the anti-Semitism, but was shocked that there wasn’t more outrage over the anti-Semitic instances. Abdul-Jabbar wrote an article for The Hollywood Reporter titled “Where Is the Outrage Over Anti-Semitism in Sports and Hollywood?”
“Recent incidents of anti-Semitic tweets and posts from sports and entertainment celebrities are a very troubling omen for the future of the Black Lives Matter movement, but so too is the shocking lack of massive indignation,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “Given the New Woke-fulness in Hollywood and the sports world, we expected more passionate public outrage. What we got was a shrug of meh-rage.”
“These famous, outspoken people share the same scapegoat logic as all oppressive groups from Nazis to the KKK [Ku Klux Klan]: all our troubles are because of bad-apple groups that worship wrong, have the wrong complexion, come from the wrong country, are the wrong gender or love the wrong gender,” Abdul-Jabbar added. “It’s so disheartening to see people from groups that have been violently marginalized do the same thing to others without realizing that perpetuating this kind of bad logic is what perpetuates racism.”
Ice Cube reacted to Abdul-Jabbar’s column by likening him to Judas betraying Jesus Christ.
Last month, The Daily Beast wrote an article about the rapper, whose given name is O’Shea Jackson, titled “Ice Cube’s Long, Disturbing History of Anti-Semitism.”
ViacomCBS terminated Cannon after his anti-Semitic remarks resurfaced in a YouTube video where he presented conspiracy theories and defended Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Cannon blamed “systemic racism” for his firing.
DeSean Jackson shared several since-deleted posts on Instagram that promoted Louis Farrakhan as well as falsely quoting Adolf Hitler. The Philadelphia Eagles condemned the anti-Semitic posts.
Stephen Jackson, who has been a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter movement, was lambasted for defending DeSean Jackson and promoting Jewish stereotypes.
Last week, Barkley warned that sports leagues trying to be woke are “turning into a circus, instead of trying to do some good stuff.”