Charles Barkley says the last 24 hours of hate that Drew Brees has received for his anthem comments are straight-up "overkill" ... and now, he's calling for people to back off the NFL star.
"This level of, 'we've got to kill everybody who says something we don't agree with,'" Barkley said on "NBA on TNT" Thursday, "I am never going with the mob."
Don't get it twisted ... Chuck said Brees' comments were "insensitive," and the NBA Hall of Famer wishes the QB hadn't said them -- but he believes the backlash is too much.
"I want to make it clear: I did not like what he said right away, but the vitriol and animosity and hatred he just got for the last 24 hours, I thought it was overkill," Barkley said. "That's just my personal opinion."
Brees was ripped apart by just about EVERY notable athlete in the country after he said on Wednesday he believed kneeling protests during NFL anthems were disrespectful to the flag.
Drew has since issued TWO apologies ... and while some -- including Saints stars Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Demario Davis -- accepted it, the QB was still getting blasted for the comments all day Thursday.
Chuck says that needs to end now ... adding, "I have never heard a bad word about Drew Brees in my life."
"He made a mistake. But, we've gotten to the point in society where everybody on social media thinks they are God, judge and jury."
Barkley continued, "Drew Brees has done some amazing things in New Orleans in his life. I'm not even talking about football. He made a mistake in a statement."