PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Charles Barkley’s comments on the Jussie Smollett controversy are going viral, after the outspoken Hall of Famer and former Sixers great joked about the alleged fake attack during TNT’s “Inside the NBA” on Thursday night.
Barkley roasted the former “Empire” star for allegedly writing a check to pay for a crime.
“Do not commit crimes with checks! If you’re gonna break the law, do not write a check!” said Barkley. “Get cash man!”
At one point during the show, a fake check made out to “Muggers” for “mugging supplies” aired on TV. The check was in the amount of $3,500 – the amount Smollett allegedly paid two brothers to stage the attack.
“America, do not write checks when you’re committing illegal activities,” said Barkley.
Smollett, who is black and openly gay, claims he was attacked as he was walking home from a Subway restaurant around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29. He told police two masked men – one of them wearing a red “MAGA” hat – shouted racist and homophobic slurs as they beat him, put a noose around his neck, and poured a chemical on them.
Barkley even joked about Smollett’s 2 a.m. Subway craving.
“Them must be some good damn sandwiches at Subway if you’re going out there at 3 and 4 in the morning to get them,” said Barkley. “What’s on them sandwiches? Baloney?”
Barkley also offered Smollett some advice, “Jussie, you wasted all that damn time and money. You know what you should have did? Just went up to Liam Neeson’s neighborhood. You could have solved all your damn problems.”
On Friday morning, executive producers for “Empire” released a statement, saying Smollett’s character will be removed from the final two episodes of the season.
Smollett has since been charged with felony disorderly conduct. He continues to deny allegations he faked the attack.