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November 20, 2019

Charles Barkley apologizes for 'unacceptable' comment to Axios reporter Alexi McCammond

The former 76er told the female reporter who pressed Barkley about his political views that 'I don't hit women, but if I did I would hit you.'

Former Philadelphia 76ers star and NBA analyst Charles Barkley has issued an apology for offensive comments he made to a reporter at an event on Tuesday night.

Barkley had been discussing the 2020 presidential election when he was surrounded by a group of reporters, including Alexi McCammond of Axios.

During the conversation, McCammond noted that Barkley had expressed support both for former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

When McCammond pointed out that Barkley had shifted his support when a Buttigieg campaign member showed up, Barkley reportedly said, "I don't hit women, but if I did I would hit you."

Barkley, who's long been known to intentionally stir the pot, issued an apology via Turner Sports (he doesn't have any social media accounts of his own). 

Both Barkley and McCammond were hammered on Twitter for the unwholesome exchange, Barkley because of the tasteless joke and McCammond for making it public. 

Barkley, who was recently celebrated with a statue at the Sixers practice facility, has made comments in the past about violence toward women. 

While playing with the Sixers in 1990, he once remarked after a win, "This is a game that if you lose, you go home and beat your wife and kids," according to the Los Angeles Times

In that instance, the reporter asked Barkley if he wanted to reconsider his comments, but he reportedly said, "Nah, print it."

More recently, Barkley has been criticized for an extended gag on "NBA on TNT" in which he disparages the women of San Antonio for being overweight, despite his own well-publicized weight issues

Among his fans, Barkley's charm is how he speaks his mind, which leads to occasional outbursts and incidents that cross the line — like spitting on a young fan. His brash personality has always been softened by his self-deprecation, which became a winning brand for him. If Charles Barkley isn't cracking jokes and being mildly offensive, he's not being Charles Barkley. 

That's fine, but this incident should make clear to him that violence against women is a subject he should avoid for the sake of decency and humor.