Reporter says Charles Barkley told her: 'I don't hit women but if I did I would hit you'

Chelsea Ritschel

A political reporter has accused former NBA player Charles Barkley of threatening to hit her after she asked him to clarify which 2020 Democratic presidential candidate he supports.

On Tuesday, Alexi McCammond tweeted that Barkley had told her: “I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you,” while speaking with her off the record. “And then when I objected to that he told me I ‘couldn’t take a joke,’” she added.

McCammond, a reporter for Axios, then recalled the incident further in a series of tweets, in which she explained that she would never normally break an “OTR agreement” but felt that the interaction was “not okay”.

According to McCammond, the conversation took place after Barkley expressed his support for both former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

“It was all because he came in talking about how he loves Deval Patrick and once someone from Pete’s campaign came around he said he loved Pete and I reminded him he previously said he was a Deval fan,” McCammond wrote, before attaching a picture of the 56-year-old retired basketball player.

In follow-up tweets, the reporter said she hates “being part of a story” but that people should be held accountable for remarks that perpetuate violence against women.

“It’s not about me or my feelings - though I’m so grateful for the many friends who have reached out,” McCammond wrote. “But it’s about refusing to allow this culture to perpetuate because of silence on these issues. It’s easier and less awkward to be silent, but that helps NO ONE but the perpetrator.”

Following the accusation, Turner Sports released a statement from Barkley, in which the Hall of Fame inductee apologised and explained that his comment was an “attempted joke”.

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

McCammond did not accept the apology, writing on Twitter that “threats of violence are not a joke” and “silence only allows the culture of misogyny to fester”.

On social media, many people have expressed their support for McCammond, while calling Barkley’s comments “completely unacceptable”.

Others pointed out that Barkley has previously apologised for comments he has made about domestic abuse.

In 1990, Barkley, who was then the forward of the Philadelphia 76ers, told reporters: “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.”