Whether it is about basketball or social issues or anything in between, Charles Barkley has never been afraid to speak his mind.
Prior to the first game of tonight’s NBA restart, all players and coaches from the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz, as well as the game officials, took a knee in silent protest during the national anthem. It was an expected decision as those around the league try to keep a focus on racial and social justice even while games are going on.
Barkley and the rest of the TNT studio crew spoke about the moment. While Sir Charles was supportive of the men who chose to kneel, he also wanted to caution against vilifying anybody from other teams who chooses not to.
“The national anthem means different things to different people,” Barkley said. “I’m glad these guys are all unified. But if people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear.”
Charles Barkley on anthem kneeling "If people don't kneel they're not a bad person" pic.twitter.com/qeZfjHTUZ4
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) July 30, 2020
Shortly after Charles Barkley made his point on TNT, ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Williams tweeted that he agreed with the sentiment.
“I firmly stand by what Charles Barkley just said,” Williams wrote. “If you choose not to kneel for the national anthem, you are NOT a bad person and you should NOT get vilified.”
I firmly stand by what Charles Barkley just said.. if you choose not to kneel for the national anthem, you are NOT a bad person and you should NOT get vilified.
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) July 30, 2020
Utah and New Orleans are at halftime of their game. The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will follow in the nightcap of today’s doubleheader.
You can catch all the action–as well as more analysis from Charles Barkley–on TNT.