Former NBA star and current Turner Sports analyst Charles Barkley told a local sportscaster he would rather spend his time trying to do good things in the world than waste his time worrying about Confederate statues.
“I’m not going to waste my time worrying about these Confederate statues,” Barkley said. “That’s wasted energy. You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna keep doing great things. I’m gonna keep trying to make a difference number one in the black community — because I’m black — but also gonna try to do good things in the world. I’m not gonna waste my time screaming at a neo-Nazi who’s gonna hate me no matter what, and I’m not gonna waste my time worried about these statues that they’ve got all over the country.”
Rick Karle, a sportscaster for a local FOX affiliate in Birmingham, then asked Barkley if the solution was to leave the statues and up and just simply ignore them.
“I’ve always ignored them!” he continued. “Rick, I’m 54 years old. I’ve never thought about those statues a day in my life. I think if you ask most black people to be honest, they ain’t thought a day in their life about those stupid statues. What we as black people need to do: We need to worry about getting our education, we need to stop killing each other, we need to try to find a way to have more economic opportunity and things like that. Those things are important and significant. You know, I’m wasting time and energy screaming at a neo-Nazi, or [saying] ‘Man, you’ve got to take this statue down.’”
— Rick Karle (@RickKarle) August 17, 2017
The removal of Confederate statues has drawn criticism from other leaders in the African-American community, including the president of one of the NAACP chapters who said she disapproves of people tearing down the statues.