Charles Barkley had his “NBA on TNT” teammates gasping for air, shaking their heads and averting their eyes as he joked about the legal issues surrounding actor-musician Jussie Smollett.
Barkley’s remarks about Smollett, checks, MAGA hats and, eventually, Liam Neeson flustered Ernie Johnson and reduced Shaquille O’Neal to a coughing mess.
Charles Barkley has some advice for America & Jussie Smollett pic.twitter.com/3JaW9FlHM9
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 22, 2019
“I can’t believe you, Chuckster,” Johnson said, shaking his head, during the early portion of the two-minute segment at halftime of the network’s broacast of Thursday’s Rockets-Lakers game.
The off-camera production staff also sounded shocked by Barkley’s comments.
MORE: Barkley explains why he interviewed white supremacist
Smollett’s case, which has received national attention, took a major turn Thursday.
Chicago police charged Smollett with filing a false police report after they investigated his claim that two men wearing “Make America Great” hats assaulted him and put a rope around his neck in a racially motivated attack. Prosecutors now allege Smollett staged the attack with the help of two friends, whom he paid $3,500 by check, in a ploy to pressure the producers of the Fox series “Empire” into giving him a raise. Smollett, a member of the show’s cast, has denied those allegations.
Barkley’s comment about Neeson was a reference to the actor’s recent claims that he stalked African-Americans neighborhoods in England decades ago seeking retribution after a female friend told him she had been raped by a black person.
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