WASHINGTON D.C., DC — NBA analyst and former player Charles Barkley is feeling some heat after comments he made on the shooting death of Breonna Taylor during TNT's pregame coverage of the Western Conference Finals were seen as controversial.
Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician, was shot and killed by Louisville, Kentucky police on March 13 when cops broke open her front door while serving a no-knock warrant during a drug raid.
In June, the city of Louisville then felt it necessary to pass a ban on no-knock warrants like the one used in the raid on Taylor's residence.
Following that, in September, a $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor was reached in an historic move for the city of Louisville making it among the largest payouts linked to a police shooting.
Thursday, during TNT's pregame coverage Barkley said that he didn't feel that the Taylor case should be categorized with other high-profile police killings of Black Americans this year. While on set during the show Barkley said, "This one, I don’t think it was like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and things like that.”
Barkley continued by saying, “I feel bad this young lady lost her life. But, you know, we do have to take into account her boyfriend did shoot at the cops and shot a cop.”
The officers who forcibly entered Tayor's home on March 13 during the no-knock warrant were not wearing body cameras, and were plain-clothes narcotics officers.
The warrant was issued to search for illegal drugs, but none were found according to a lawsuit filed by Taylor's family.
Former NBA player Stephen Jackson was close friends with George Floyd and said in a TikTok video that Barkley was insensitive and heartless, CNN reported.
Former Canadian football wide receiver Brandon London who is a host for the the show Daily Blast Live said Barkley wasn't giving all of the context for the situation.
London said Friday on the show, "the problem I have when people are talking about how the boyfriend Kenneth Walker shot first, no one ever says that he was acting under his right, in a stand your ground state, no one says that, they always trying to make it like this guy just randomly started firing at the police."
Fox Sports Radio host Clay Travis tweeted a video clip from the TNT show siding with Barkley on the comments.
The Laker's LeBron James said during his TNT post-game interview, "We want justice, no matter how long it takes."
Barkley also commented on calls to defund police departments saying, "I hear these fools on TV talking about 'defund the police' and things like that. We need police reform, prison reform, and things like that. Because you know who ain't going to defund the cops? White neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods."
He continued saying, "So, that notion, they keep saying that," Barkley added. "I'm like, wait a minute, who are black people supposed to call? Ghostbusters?"
The grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case was a painful gut punch to protesters, many of them Black women, in Kentucky and throughout the country. Those who rallied all summer in Taylor's name sacrificed jobs, homes and friendships, as the Associated Press pointed out.
Two Louisville police officers were shot Wednesday night as the city erupted in protests after the verdict. Both officers are recovering.
Barkley will be back on The NBA on TNT Saturday night at 8 p.m. Eastern before Game 5 between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets.