NBA great Charles Barkley may be even more famous today than he would have been because he says what he wants to say, and he’s often laugh-out-loud funny when he does it. In 2021, however, Barkley has found that his unfiltered approach is no longer considered part of his charm.
Speaking to The Fan, a Washington sports radio station, the Inside the NBA host went off on “cancel culture” and implied he’s so over it he might just retire from broadcasting.
As far as Sir Charles is concerned, political correctness is “out of hand.” Just goofing around as he’s famous for doing is impossible now, according to Barkley, without “jackasses” going on the cancellation warpath.
Barkley, 58, essentially called out higher-ups at Turner Broadcasting (now a part of Warner Media) for shutting down a long-running joke about the size of women in San Antonio, Texas:
If you crack a joke the wrong way they’re like, ‘Oh, no, no, no, you crossed the line.’
I mean, they won’t even let me talk about San Antonio anymore — when I’m always talking about their big ole women down in San Antonio.
They’re like, ‘Charles, we got one lady who wrote an article.’ … We’ve been having fun with this for probably 10–15 years. We go to San Antonio; the people are having a blast with it. The people in San Antonio had T-shirts made up.
Barkley’s argument is basically that if San Antonio and the women of San Antonio are okay with it, as he seems to think, then what’s the problem?
He wasn’t done, of course. As Barkley continued, it became clear that he’s thinking about washing his hands of the whole thing. He’s tired of his words being policed:
“That’s all we ever talk about behind the scenes like, ‘Yo, man, be careful going in this direction,’” Barkley said.
“I’m like, ‘Yo, man, we can’t even have fun anymore,” he continued, “We’ve had fun all these years and now all of a sudden in the last year and a half, everybody is trying to get everybody fired and it really sucks.”
Barkley indicated he’s only giving the gig a few more years. “I’m trying to hang on for another couple of years until I’m 60 and then they can kiss my ass. I’m only working until 60. I’ve already told them that. I’m not working until the day I die. That’s just stupid. And if I don’t have enough money by now, I’m an idiot, anyway. They should fire me, anyway.”
At least one media mogul with no Turner connections has a job proposal for Barkley — Barstool’s Dave Portnoy.
Portnoy tweeted, “I pledge that if Charles Barkley works for me he can call the women of San Antonio fat and gross as much as he wants.”
If Barkley is familiar with Barstool, he’s probably already on the phone with his agent.