Charles Barkley apologized to a reporter Wednesday for what he called an “attempted joke,” following claims the NBA Hall of Famer had told her “I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you.”
The TNT basketball commentator’s response came a day after Axios reporter Alexi McCammond tweeted about the alleged exchange.
CHARLES BARKLEY ALLEGEDLY TOLD REPORTER ‘I DON’T HIT WOMEN BUT IF I DID I WOULD HIT YOU’
McCammond, a politics reporter covering the 2020 presidential election, wrote: “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.”
She said she had asked Barkley off the record for clarification on which Democratic candidate he supported for president.
“My comment was inappropriate and unacceptable,” Barkley said in a statement released by Turner Sports PR. “It was an attempted joke that wasn’t funny at all. There’s no excuse for it and I apologize.”
“My comment was inappropriate and unacceptable. It was an attempted joke that wasn’t funny at all. There’s no excuse for it and I apologize.”
McCammond retweeted the apology, adding her response:
“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.”
As of late Wednesday, Barkley was still scheduled to appear on Thursday night’s edition of “Inside the NBA,” despite public backlash on social media about his remarks about hitting women, Front Office Sports reported. It was not immediately clear if TNT would seek any disciplinary action against him.
Meanwhile, McCammond on Wednesday received pushback for her critique of Barkley on social media given her own past tweets, which some have viewed as “racist” against Asians and African-Americans. Social media users shared screenshots of McCammond’s old tweets, some of which date to 2008. McCammond apologized and said she deleted the tweets from her account.
“Today, I was reminded of some past insensitive tweets, and I am deeply sorry to anyone I offended. I have since deleted those tweets as they do not reflect my views or who I am today,” she said.
The National Association of Black Journalists supported McCammond in a statement, saying that her past tweets, which she published as a student, before becoming a professional journalist, do not “negate our concerns that the comments and actions toward her by Mr. Barkley were inexcusable, as are some of the other comments she’s encountered as a result of her speaking out about what she has faced.”
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The association said it was unaware of McCammond’s tweets in 2018 when she was awarded NABJ’s “Emerging Journalist of the Year.”
“We have always encouraged all of our members, which includes Ms. McCammond, to be respectful of people of all backgrounds. Celebrating diversity is at the core of our mission,” the NABJ continued. “We are hopeful to see that Ms. McCammond has worked to rectify the situation concerning her past tweets.”