NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley apologises for inappropriate joke on hitting women

NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley cracked a 'joke' about hitting political analyst Alexi McCammond during the Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta.

Charles Barkley has also made controversial comments on women referees and likened team performances as “girly” during his commentary stints.   -  Getty Images

Charles Barkley issued an apology on Wednesday for making a joke about hitting women. "I don’t hit women, but if I did, I would hit you,” the NBA Hall of Famer is said to have told political analyst Alexi McCammond while at the Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta.

In a tweet, McCammond said, “Just FYI Charles Barkley told me tonight “I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you,” and then when I objected to that he told me I “couldn’t take a joke.”

The comment was made in response to the journalist pointing out discrepancies in who Barkley was claiming to support at the event. According to McCammond, Barkley had initially expressed his support for former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, while going on to say he supported another candidate, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, when a member of the latter’s campaign was in the vicinity.

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The NBA legend, who has played for the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets, issued an apology to McCammond on Wednesday in a statement carried by Turner Sports, a sports broadcaster Barkley works as an NBA analyst for.

“My comment was inappropriate and unacceptable," Barkley said. "It was an attempted joke that wasn’t funny at all. There’s no excuse for it and I apologize.”


McCammond has received support on Twitter with many lauding her for calling out the former player. She responded to the apology issued addressing why she decided to reveal an interaction that had happened off the record.

“The comments Charles Barkley made to me are not acceptable. Threats of violence are not a joke, & no person deserves to be hit or threatened like that. Silence only allows the culture of misogyny to fester. And those kinds of comments don't merit off-the-record protections,” she said in response.

Twitter users also pointed out past instances of Barkley making similar comments. The LA Times referred to a post-match comment from 1990 where he said, “This is a game that if you lose, you go home and beat your wife and kids. Did you see my wife jumping up and down at the end of the game? That’s because she knew I wasn’t going to beat her.”

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When asked if he wanted to rethink that statement, Barkley is said to have replied, “Nah, print it.” The public outrage post these comments prompted an apology from the player then.

Barkley has also made controversial comments on women referees and likened team performances as “girly” during his commentary stints.

“I encourage you to consider how you’d respond if a friend said something similar to what Barkley said tonight,” McCammond said, urging people to be more empathetic to situations of abuse. “And then challenge yourself to ask the same of yourself if a stranger (or “celebrity”) said that. I hope the answers are the same. Everyone should be held accountable,” she added.