Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Is Charles Barkley Just An Awful Human Being?

Illustration for article titled Is Charles Barkley Just An Awful Human Being?

That might be the one point we're all missing in this drunken, blow-jobby mess.

The transition from Charles Barkley to the bane of a sports writer's existence (in his early playing days) to the quote-starved writer's best friend dramatically altered the perception of a man whose personal problems could have easily made him one of the most despised athletes of all time, instead of one of the most beloved. This has always been a fascinating aspect of Charles' career, that no matter how much off-court trouble he caused, his ability to spout off honestly and admit to his own flaws somehow made him Teflon. But this is a man, who for all intents in purposes, has a pretty reprehensible history: alleged domestic abuse, legal problems, gambling problems, infidelity issues, drinking problems, and overall surliness that has, for the most part, been forgiven. By virtue of admitting he was "not a role model" for Nike has ultimately given him a lifetime pass to fuck up people's lives without consequence. Peter Vecsey brings up another point as well that Charles's lifetime of behavior problems is ultimately the reason he never got that championship ring:

I don't care what the following people are prepared to say now; Barkley's reckless life style and non-compliance to team rules and conditioning was a primary reason Julius Erving retired a year or two early, Billy Cunningham prematurely gave up coaching, and Kevin Johnson, A.C. Green, Clyde Drexler and Scottie Pippen demanded the Suns and Rockets trade Sir Childish.


But Charles has too many fans in the media to ever be harshly ridiculed for his actions. He's availed himself and opened up to so many print guys, radio guys, television guys and hidden behind the race card for so long that he's going to get another free pass from a long list of people who do have the ability to call him on his shit.

Right now, TNT is aggressively no-commenting on whether Chuck will be back on air with them for the second half of they year. If this were anyone else, this would be an easy decision, regardless of legal consequences or contractual obligations. Most likely he'll still have a career, still be the perfect golf and drinking buddy for everyone and still be given a platform to criticize and opine on myriad subjects. But why?

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