Olympic icon tears into Charles Barkley over pro-Darren Wilson comments
Olympic icon John Carlos would like to ask Charles Barkley not to make snap judgments about the Michael Brown case.
In an interview last week, Barkley addressed the Ferguson protesters, calling some of them scumbags, before he defended Darren Wilson. “The true story came out from the grand jury testimony,” Barkley said. “Three or four witnesses, who were black, said exactly what the cop said. We have to be really careful with the cops, because if it wasn’t for the cops we would be living in the Wild, Wild West in our neighborhoods.”’
Carlos believes that Barkley, who has before expressed interest in running for office, both as a Democrat and as a Republican, is just looking to score political points. “He’s just looking for political votes down the line,” Carlos said. “If you don’t have anything good to say, you should keep your mouth shut. I don’t know where Mr. Barkley gets his reports. He’s a basketball commentator. It’s not like he’s in the legal field. He shouldn’t be saying derogatory things.”
Carlos has been an active figure in civil rights and public protests since the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, in which he and Tommie Smith raised their fists in the black power salute. Carlos was subsequently blacklisted and banned from the next Olympics.
Carlos has recently come out in support of St. Louis Rams players who raised their arms in a “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture to protest the Ferguson decision. “I think it’s changing right before our eyes,” Carlos said. “These men are giving voice to the voiceless. They’re doing the right thing and taking a stance. So many others might feel that way. I’m just pleased to see some more Peter Normans out there.”
Peter Norman, the white Australian silver medalist who took the Olympic stand alongside bronze medalist Carlos, supported Carlos and Smith and lost his chance at the next Olympics when his own country banned and reprimanded him.
Carlos believes that more athletes should follow the Rams players’ lead and is especially displeased with famous African-American athletes and celebrities for failing to speak out on the issues in their community. “Not just athletes,” Carlos said. “Puff Daddy, Snoop (Dogg), we haven’t heard much from those individuals or our black movie stars out there. They chose to take the back seat. How many millions of dollars do you have to have in your bank account before you speak your mind?”