TMZ caught up with Charles Barkley as he made his way over to Ric Flair’s 70th birthday extravaganza. To the field reporter’s surprise, Barkley was in an unusually somber mood as he expressed mixed feelings of contempt and regret over the Jussie Smollett scandal he is no way implicated.

In his impromptu interview with TMZ, Barkley began by crediting Smollett as a very talented individual, before passing judgment over his actions – his claim being: Jussie has done a great injustice to both the LGBTQ and Black community/ties, of which Charles Barkley holds a distinguishable place in the latter category, not so much the other.

The current TNT analyst also mentioned that Smollett had done “immeasurable damage” by allegedly playing both sides of honor/shame culture, a far cry from the joking manner in which Barkley imagined a scenario where an earnest Jussie Smollett should have reported to “Liam Neeson’s neighborhood” had he wished to suffer a real hate crime. 

As of this writing, Jussie Smollett denies colluding with the Osundairo brothers and is henceforth sticking to his laurels, in spite of all the damning evidence to have surfaced in the public forum. Charles Barkley is but one of many public figures representing either the LGBTQ or Black communities, who view his actions as a backward step for a collective good.