Whether the topic is basketball, politics or race relations, you can always count on Charles Barkley to speak his mind.
“I think most White people and Black people are great people. I really believe that in my heart,” Barkley said while covering the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament on Saturday.
Barkley claimed the “system is set up where our politicians, whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, are designed to make us not like each other so they can keep their grasp of money and power,” adding that they “divide and conquer.”
He said voters are “stupid” to follow any politicians who spend their careers exploiting differences.
“‘Hey, let’s make these people not like each other,'” he mocked. “‘We don’t live in their neighborhoods, we all got money, let’s make the Whites and Blacks not like each other, let’s make rich people and poor people not like each other, let’s scramble the middle class.’ I truly believe that in my heart.”
The Hall of Famer, who has long been known for his outspokenness, last summer addressed the nationwide anti-racism protests following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Barkley accused professional athletes of turning the conversation about racism into a “circus.”
“Instead of talking about racial equality, racial justice, and economic justice, we spend all our time worrying about who’s kneeling and not kneeling, what things are being said on buses, what’s being said on jerseys,” he said in a July interview. “I think we’re missing the point.”