Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were roundly criticized for their statements regarding Breonna Taylor. Did they truly deserve the BLM backlash?
The cops who shot Breonna Taylor were summarily exonerated from criminal charges in September last year. This event felt like a lost battle for advocates of BLM, for whom Taylor’s name was a rallying point.
The situation at the time was quite delicate as the BLM movement was at its peak. Players from all 4 major sports in USA made statements or took affirmative action of one sort or the other. The NBA itself saw a 2-day boycott started by Milwaukee Bucks players.
Charles Barkley, however, isn’t the kind of person to let mainstream narratives direct his line of thinking. He took the route less travelled by challenging how the Breonna Taylor shooting was similar to other victims of police brutality:
“This one, I don’t think was like George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery and things like that. And I just feel sad that this young lady lost her life. The no-knock warrant is something that we need to get rid of – not just in Louisville but across the board.”
“But I’m worried that we lump all these situations in together. And I feel just bad the young lady lost her life, but we do have to take into account that her boyfriend did shoot at the cops.”
“So like I say, even though I’m really sorry she lost her life, I don’t think we can say it’s the same situation as George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery. I just don’t believe that.”
Shaquille O’Neal backed up Charles Barkley for his statements on Breonna Taylor
Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley usually don’t agree on a lot of things. Some of these disagreements are by design – Chuck just loves to try and rile Shaq up. Shaq, in turn, keeps trying to get back at the Hall of Famer in his own way.
But this was a politically charged issue, and there was no room for either of them to talk in trivial terms. So when Shaq spoke his piece on the ruling, you can be sure that those were his true feelings. This is what he said on the show at the time:
“But to piggyback on what Charles said, I have to agree with what Charles said. You were talking about doing things right – you have to get a warrant signed. And some states do allow no-knock warrants.”
“Everybody was asking for murder charges for these cops. When you talk about murder, you have to prove intent – always. A homicide occurred and we’re sorry that a homicide had to occur, but when you have a warrant that’s signed by a judge, you are doing your job.”