Basketball star Charles Barkley said that fighting to get Confederate statues removed is “wasted energy.”
“I’m not going to waste my time screaming at a neo-Nazi who’s gonna hate me no matter what,” the NBA Hall of Famer told an Alabama news station.
“I’m 54 years old,” Barkley said. “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.”
Barkley is not known for pulling his punches. Last year he spoke out against violence against police.
“The cops have made some mistakes. Black people have made some mistakes,” Barkley stated.
“That don’t give us the right to riot and shoot cops. We need the cops, especially in the black community. We as black people, we’ve got to do better.”
Barkley also said the black community must focus on education, economic opportunity, and “stop killing each other.”
“You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna keep doing great things,” Barkley said. “I’m gonna keep trying to make a difference — No. 1, in the black community, ’cause I’m black — but I’m also gonna try to do good things in the world.”