VIDEO: Charles Barkley Starts Huge Controversy, Then Delivers This Brilliant Zinger

Hall of Famer Charles Barkely has been widely criticized for his stance on a variety of issues, including the Michael Brown case, the case of Eric Garner in New York, and the overall relationship between police officers and black community members. Barkley’s co-analyst on the TNT show, Inside the NBA, is Kenny Smith, who is also a personal friend of Barkley. Smith recently took Barkley to task in a open letter published in USA Today’s “For the Win” blog.

The letter, which has been shared 1 million times, says:

[W]hat I consistently find interesting is how writers and media members view your insights in politics, and now race relations, with the same reverence as your insights in sports.

They did it in the Trayvon Martin trial and now with Mike Brown and the decision in Ferguson. It’s not that you shouldn’t ever have an opinion, but you are often quoted alongside the likes of Al Sharpton and even President Obama…

The body of work that our Black Civil Rights leaders put in by planning, executing and activating does not justify you being in the conversation.

TNT decided the controversy was interesting enough that it abandoned its traditional NBA pre-game show last week for a more in-depth conversation between Smith and Barkley. The two had a serious but not acrimonious discussion, and as usual, Barkley spoke his mind. “We’ve got a lot of race-baiters out there,” he said, and he continued his defense of police in general. He also said most black people would be agreeing with him if he said “cops suck” because people want their own existing opinions validated.

Clearly, Barkley is not out to validate anyone else’s point of view.

The bottom line, he said, is simple. “Some people are gonna agree with me and some people are gonna kiss my ass.”

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