Progressive NBA Needs to Finally Distance Itself from Charles Barkley

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As Maya Angelou famously said: “When People Show You Who They Are, Believe Them.” The National Basketball Association doesn’t seem to understand this lesson when it comes to Charles Barkley however. Or they have learned, but don’t really care. He’s repeatedly shown himself to be a social dinosaur, but the NBA seems to be okay with it.

That’s strange given how it’s most the progressive sports league on the planet. The association is a place where some of the most successful figures are also the most out-spoken and forward thinking. Guys like Steve Kerr, Gregg Poppovich, Steve Nash, Stan Van Gundy, the list goes on.

charles-barkley

These are public figures who are winners; both on-the-court and off-of-it. If you’re making free NBA predictions, you would bet on these players and coaches to win. If you’re socially conscious, you would also listen to the insights that men like Kerr and Popovich have to give on the relevant social issues of the day. The league doesn’t try to stifle original, dissenting, progressive thought, like so many other pro sports leagues do. The NFL, MLB and NHL are far behind the NBA in this regard.

Which makes it so puzzling why Barkley remains such a prominent figure in NBA circles these days. Yes, it’s out-spoken and entertaining. Yes, he’s right about a lot of issues, and sometimes he’ll say the things that everyone else is afraid to say. However, when he’s wrong, he’s way wrong and you just can’t unsee the sight of his words printed out, when he’s offensive, crude, tone-deaf and off the mark.

This is one of those times, and with Charles Barkley it isn’t anything new.

Take a look at the tweet above, and focus first on the bottom portion. Alexi McCammond is a reporter for Axios covering the 2020 Presidential Election. McCammond simply asked Barkley, who expressed support for one of the  Democratic candidates, about his past support for a different candidate.

It prompted Barkley to make an unfunny attempt at “a joke” about beating women. Now look at the top part of the tweet, and you’ll see that this kind of behavior is nothing new for Barkley. In fact, you could says that making “jokes” about battering women is “on brand” for the former power forward as he’s been doing it as far back as 30 years.

That remark 30 years ago wasn’t a one-off either. In fact, he doubled down on it at the time. See below:

Charles Barkley has since apologized, via a statement issued by Turner Broadcasting.  “My comment was inappropriate and unacceptable,” Barkley is quoted in the prepared statement. “It was an attempted joke that wasn’t funny at all. There’s no excuse for it and I apologize.”

While he’s saying all the right things there, it’s hard to believe, given his past behaviors, he’s really learned anything from this. Time will tell, but it’s hard to believe he’ll really change in the future. What has changed is the NBA, and that change is for the better. They’re moving forward socially and that means it’s time to leave Charles Barkley behind for good.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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Comments

  1. Big deal he did say hit all women he said one women the one speaking to him

  2. People say a lot of things doesn’t mean there going along with it ..He said he doesn’t hit women did you hear that part get over it Don’t ask questions if u gonna cry about the response because it’s not what u wanted

  3. Mark millar says

    My 2 cents worth…. Out of the 3 he works with Charles definitely seems to be the odd man out, but to his sincerity,i have no question. Was his joking humorous,not at all. Charles is not a comedian, you get what you hear and see,that’s Charles. Charles is just Charles, no role model, No scholar, no comedian nobody just Charles !!!!! In my opinion sincerely trying to be funny yes he was. God-bless

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