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Charles Barkley says pro athletes ‘deserve some preferential treatment’ with Covid vaccine due to taxes paid

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NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley has always been a lightning rod for controversy, but he may have gone a little too far with his take on pro athletes being given preferential treatment when it comes to the coronavirus vaccine.

In a discussion about the vaccine — the sports world today spends almost as much time talking politics as they do analyzing games — on TNT’s Inside the NBA, Barkley pointed to how much these athletes pay in taxes to justify jumping to the front of the line.

An assessment that only reinforces the perception many have about elitist athletes earning tens of millions of dollars for playing a game.

“Three hundred million shots, give a thousand to some NBA players, NFL players, hockey players,” Barkley insisted. “Listen, as much taxes as these players pay, let me repeat that, as much taxes as these players pay, they deserve some preferential treatment.”

Fellow analyst Kenny Smith tried to save Barkley by asking should players get special treatment when it comes to “life or death.”

“Yes,” Barkley replied, which prompted Smith to say “the amount of money you make” shouldn’t determine when someone receives the vaccine.

“I didn’t say how much money you make. I said taxes,” Barkley clarified.

“We can’t go there,” Smith fired back. “I don’t think you can go there.”

Barkley’s assessment would apply to far more than wealthy athletes, effectively pushing the wealthy ahead of working class Americans.

While generally beloved for his frankness and outspokenness, Barkley may want this one back as social media users lambasted him for his suggestion.

Here’s a sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

Tom Tillison

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