Vociferous former NBA star and TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley said he believes the perception of his “controversial” and “outspoken” nature is due at least in part to his skin color.
The “Round Mound of Rebound” joined fellow former pro athletes Channing Crowder, Fred Taylor, and Ryan Clark, all of NFL fame, who host The Pivot Podcast to relate stories of his career and life.
Recalling that Barkley has never been one to shy away from a fracas whether on or off the court, Taylor observed, “You’re very outspoken.”
Barkley replied, “It’s weird you say that cause every time I hear that, I’m like –”
“No, but the question really is, I wanted to ask you, is it more that you’re opinionated or does it tread along the lines of being controversial?” Taylor rephrased.
“It has something to do with race to be honest with you,” Barkley admitted. “Because I hear that all the time and I’m like ‘Wait, I don’t think I’m saying things I don’t hear other people say.’ But I think they throw those code words, ‘outspoken,’ and ‘opinionated’ when they’re talking about brothers on television, cause I think some of the white guys say the exact same things that I say, and they’re considered experts.”
“Hold on a second,” Barkley continued. “Why do you call me controversial or outspoken? I’m saying the same thing that these other guys are saying, but to me, they use those code words when they’re saying stuff like that. And that always makes me laugh because I don’t think I’m controversial. I saw somebody say exactly what I said yesterday — today, but you throw those code words at me. I just laugh about it because I’m gonna be a straight shooter. That’s what’s really important.”
One of the more notable past instances of Barkley’s opinionated constitution occurred in June of 2021 during a phone-in appearance on the “Grant and Danny Show” on 106.7 out of Washington, D.C. when Sir Charles went after the scourge of cancel culture.
“The PC people are out overboard right now,” Barkley said. “I can’t imagine you guys doing a show every day, how crazy it is for you. Like, it’s gotten so out of hand right now, I couldn’t imagine having to watch myself — you can’t even have fun nowadays without these jackasses trying to get you canceled and things like that.”
“All we ever talk about behind the scenes now is ‘yo man, be careful going in this direction,’ — we can’t even have fun anymore,” Barkley said, referring to his co-hosts on the show. “We’ve had fun all these years, and now all of a sudden in the last year and a half, everybody’s trying to get everybody fired and it really sucks.”
He also ripped the Democratic Party’s “defund police” movement in 2020, remarking at the time, “We really need to be careful. I hear these fools on TV talking about defund the police and things like that.”
He continued, “Because you know who ain’t gonna defund the cops? White neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods. So, that notion they keep saying that, I’m like, wait a minute, who are black people supposed to call, Ghostbusters?” Barkley asked.
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