NBA Hall of Famer and television analyst said he agreed with the verdict in the murder trial of George Zimmerman, based not on the racial factors surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin but the merits of the case against Zimmerman.
“Well, I agreed with the verdict,” Barkley, 50, said in a July 18 appearance on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.” “I feel sorry that young kid got killed. But they didn't have enough evidence to charge him [Zimmerman].”
“Obviously I feel sorry that young kid got killed but just judging by the evidence, I don't think that guy should have went to jail [for] the rest of his life,” Barkley later added. “Something happened bad that night, obviously.”
Zimmerman was charged with murder in the Feb. 26, 2012 shooting death of Martin in Sanford, Fla. He was found not guilty on July 13, sparking widespread outrage along racial lines.
Barkley told host Maria Bartiromo that he believed Zimmerman, who was serving on a neighborhood watch at the time, racially profiled Martin—but that Martin was “beating the hell out of” Zimmerman at the time of his death.
“It was just a bad situation. And like I said, the main thing I feel bad for, it gives every Black and White person who is racist a platform to vent their ignorance,” Barkley said.
“It was a bad situation, we all lost,” he added. “And I feel bad for his parents. You don't ever want to see anybody lose a kid.”
Commentators disagreed with Barkley’s take, and encouraged him to play a part in discussing racial bias and profiling.
“I think Mr. Barkley certainly has a right to his opinion of what he perceives the evidence to be,” Michael Skolnik, editor-in-chief of GlobalGrind.com and a political director for Russell Simmons, said in a statement to Fox News. “However, there is absolutely no medical evidence that Trayvon was ‘beating the hell out of Mr. Zimmerman,’ as he received minor and insignificant injuries.”