Charles Barkley on athletes facing hecklers: 'Walk away or they're just gonna sue ya'

"If you hit a fan and hurt them, you might kill them," Barkley said.

Charles Barkley   -  (Getty Images)

Charles Barkley, a lightning rod for hecklers during his playing days, has some advice for athletes facing smack-talking fans: walk away.

TMZ Sports caught up with the former NBA star and current TNT analyst and asked him about the incident Sunday involving Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette, who threatened a fan after Sunday's loss in Nashville. Fournette said the fan used a racial slur.

Barkley conceded he "gets nervous playing the race card, because that's a dangerous subject," but said athletes must simply walk away in those situations.

"You've got to be careful. You can't hit a fan because they're just gonna sue you," Barkley said. "You have nothing to gain. I mean, you hit a fan, you're going to lose a lot of money.

"If you hit a fan and hurt them, you might kill them. I don't want to sound morbid, but if you just start beating the hell out of a fan, you might kill them. But the main thing, you just gotta walk away or they're just gonna sue ya."

Several NBA players have dealt with hecklers recently. Kevin Durant was fined for cursing at a fan, Patrick Beverley was fined for tossing a ball at a fan, and Clippers star Montrezl Harrell confronted a heckler Saturday. Even DeMarcus Cousins has been heckled despite the fact he's still benched with an Achilles injury.

Barkley noted "Most of the fans are amazing, but there is a certain part of the fan base that is crazy."

Barkley's advice when facing those crazies?

"You gotta let it go," Barkley said. "You got nothing to gain. Suck it up, brother."

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