Basketball icon Charles Barkley weighed into the debate over sports players kneeling for the Black Lives Matter movement and he’s earning a lot of angry responses online over it.
Barkley made the comments on “The Inside Guys” on TNT on Thursday after Shaquille O’Neal applauded players and coaches for kneeling before the first NBA game of the season.
“When you have you platform, I think it is very important that you speak up, it’s very important that you speak your mind but when you talk about change, you also have to talk about protocol,” said O’Neal.
“So we use our voice to bring awareness,” he continued. “Now we have to go vote, we have to vote our mayors in, our mayors are to appoint new chiefs of police. We have to vote senators and politicians. It doesn’t just stop with sending our a tweet or yelling all the time.”
“The thing is, listen, that’s gonna mean different things to different people,” responded Barkley.
“I’m glad these guys are all unified, but if people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person,” he added.
“I want to make that perfectly clear, I’m glad they had unity,” Barkley concluded, “but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel because the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified.”
He went on to criticize players for only speaking out on social justice and said that they should go into black communities and help create businesses and be active in creating change.
Social media responds
Barkley’s comments were quickly picked up on social media and circulated by those supporting him and those criticizing him.
“Charles Barkley, we are worried about the people who ARE kneeling being vilified,” responded one sports account on Twitter