Charles Barkley told a reporter ‘I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you’ — and then apologized – CNBC

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US basketball player Charles Barkley arrives for the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California.

Lisa O’Connor | AFP | Getty Images

Charles Barkley is apologizing after making “unacceptable” comments toward a female journalist this week.

Axios reporter Alexi McCammond tweeted late Tuesday that the retired NBA basketball player told her, “I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you.”

McCammond said she immediately objected to the comments, and that Barkley told her she “couldn’t take a joke.”

“My comment was inappropriate and unacceptable,” Barkley said Wednesday in a statement issued by representatives. “It was an attempted joke that wasn’t funny at all. There’s no excuse for it and I apologize.”

McCammond said the threatening comment came after she asked about presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick.

The conversation was initially off the record and dealt with Barkley’s preference for Patrick and South Bend, Indiana, mayor and fellow presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, McCammond said in the series of tweets about the incident.

McCammond said “there are almost no times” in which she would break an off-the-record agreement, but that this particular instance warranted publicizing.

McCammond tweeted in response to Barkley’s apology later Wednesday that “those kinds of comments don’t merit off-the-record protections.”

Correction: This story has been updated to correct when Axios reporter Alexi McCammond tweeted about her exchange with Charles Barkley. That tweet was sent on Tuesday, Nov. 19. 

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