The Denver Nuggets weren’t the only ones the Los Angeles Lakers put out of their misery on Saturday night.
With the Lakers moving on to the NBA Finals, the league’s remaining playoff games will air on either ESPN or ABC, as TNT’s run ended the same night with the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals.
It also means that the best basketball show in television history, “Inside the NBA,” has wrapped for the season. But great as Ernie, Chuck, Shaq, and Kenny are at breaking down the game (and the jokes), the show misses the mark far too often when it comes to discussing anything of substance.
Last Thursday night was a great example of that, as Barkley, once again, decided it was the perfect time to disrespect Black women. Barkley doesn’t believe that you can categorize Breonna Taylor’s case with George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, which is strange, since racist white men are the common denominator in each scenario.
Barkley also has no idea what the term “defund the police” actually means, because he, unsurprisingly, doesn’t read.
On cue, Shaq agreed with Barkley. In case you all forgot, Shaq is a cop. He’s been down with “Blue Lives Matter.”
Ironically, before Shaq and Barkley decided to “share their thoughts,” Cari Champion did the same thing, on the same network, in the same building, as Thursday’s night episode of “The Arena” — a show Barkley appeared on multiple times, that the network created to discuss systemic racism, and how it affects sports and society — addressed the outcome of Taylor’s case.
Champion interviewed Barbara Sexton Smith, the Louisville councilwoman who authored “Breonna’s Law,” a bill banning no-knock warrants before she told the world what this moment feels like for Black women.
“As a Black woman, I’m speaking from what I know and what hurts my heart,” she said. “For over 196 days we’ve been asking for justice. We’ve been saying, ‘Where is the justice for Breonna Taylor?’
“I want to be really clear: The images of seeing a Black woman shot and killed by a cop, and then the cop only being charged for the bullets that did not hit her, is painful,” said Champion.
“And it’s the ultimate form of disrespect. And we just want to be loved and cared for and acknowledged for who we are and what we do, and what we do for this country, and what we do for society,” she said.
Champion said this minutes before “Inside the NBA” came on. But even after all that, Barkley still said what he said.
If that wasn’t enough, ESPN’s Malika Andrews brought the sentiment home, live on “SportsCenter.”
“I have prided myself in being able to objective and cover these sorts of issues,” Andrews said. “But when it is so clear that the system of objectivity in journalism is so white-washed and doesn’t account for the fact that when I am walking up the hill my wonderful producer Melinda reminds me that Breonna Taylor was 26 and I am 25 and that could have been me, it is very hard to continue to go to work. And that’s what these players were feeling.”
There’s a pattern here, and it doesn’t start with Breonna Taylor. Barkley has a history of saying degrading things about Black women.
Last year, Barkley told Axios reporter Alexi McCammond, “I don’t hit women, but if I did, I would hit you.”
And in 2017, Barkley was speaking on a panel at the National Association of Black Journalists Conference in New Orleans when he told a room full of Black women that they shouldn’t report sexual harassment/assault until they’re in power positions at the workplace.
Calling Barkley a font of misogynoir isn’t controversial. It’s correctly labeling him based on his public actions and words.
Meanwhile, the NBA Finals will be hosted by “ESPN’s Countdown” crew which is led by Maria Taylor, a Black woman. A few weeks ago, Jalen Rose and Jay Williams presented her with flowers and hugged her on-air due to the recent attacks she’s received for simply being a Black woman on television.
Barkley will be tuning in, but will he be taking note?
Probably not. Because at this point, it’s become quite clear how he feels about Black women.