*Charles Barkley was reportedly booed off a Baltimore town hall stage last week after he began chastising local residents for not being more compassionate toward police officers.
According to ESPN’s TheUndefeated.com, Barkley came to the city with a TNT production crew to film segments for “The Race Card,” a six-part program scheduled to air in 2017, in which Barkley speaks to communities on hot-button issues regarding race.
The Nov. 21 town hall was supposed to last an hour, but was cut short after the crowd – still raw from the Freddie Gray case – took offense at some of his statements.
Via The Undefeated:
He began criticizing the audience, many of whom were community activists, saying he didn’t believe that any of them had expressed sympathy for the families of four police officers who were shot recently in separate incidents around the United States.
In one case, a San Antonio detective was killed while writing a ticket following a traffic stop.
“Did anybody say, ‘Man, I feel bad for their family’? ” asked Barkley. “There was no love [for police] in this room.”
When Diane Butler, the mother of Tyrone West, a local man who died after a 2013 struggle with police following a traffic stop, told Barkley, “I don’t know you, I don’t like you,” chiding him for empathizing with police for having to make split-second decisions. Barkley did not back down.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” said Barkley, then adding, “As far as you not liking me, it really doesn’t bother me. I’m used to it. I’m like the homecoming queen. All the ugly girls hate you. That’s part of my life. I never take anything personally.”
From there, things further deteriorated, as audience members took turns insulting Barkley for either a perceived lack of knowledge of Baltimore and its policing issues or his declarations of his philanthropy or both.
“What does your condolence mean to her?” said one audience member, gesturing toward Butler. “How simple and arrogant are you? There are so many black men that care about our community that for us to dwell on one man that just won’t get it is a waste of everybody’s time.”
Eventually, Barkley had to be escorted off the stage by security and the town hall came to an end.
A week later, there was nothing but cheers for Barkley at Clark Atlanta University after the NBA vet gifted the historically black school with a surprise $1 million donation as part of the Giving Tuesday campaign.
“We are delighted to receive this generous gift from Mr. Barkley,” Clark Atlanta President Ronald A. Johnson stated. “This gift reflects Barkley’s tremendous heart and his desire to make a significant, positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. It is a testament to the importance of the transformative impact of CAU on its students, surrounding community, the nation and beyond.”
Barkley also donated $1 million to Alabama A&M University, also a historically black university.
In June 2015, Barkley donated $1 million dollars to Morehouse College, alma mater Auburn University and the Wounded Warrior Project in Atlanta.