Sports | July 22, 2022 10:14 am

Charles Barkley: “Selective Outrage” on LIV Golf “Blood Money” Is Hypocritical

Barkley is set to play in the Pro-Am portion of LIV's event next week in New Jersey and is considering joining the series as an analyst

Charles Barkley after hitting his second swing into the water on the 18th hole at the American Century Championship.
Charles Barkley seems to have given LIV Golf his blessing.
Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative

In 1993, Charles Barkley famously told the world that he wasn’t a role model in a controversial Nike television ad.

Now, approximately three decades later,  the 59-year-old NBA Hall of Famer, basketball analyst and sometimes golfer, appears to be on the verge of turning that statement into a reality as he considers joining up with Greg Norman and the controversial LIV Golf Series.

At least that’s the case if you believe that taking money from Saudi Arabia, a nation that has been accused of a wide range of human rights abuses including the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi for political reasons, is something a role model would not do.

In an interview with The New York Post, Barkley sounded as if he is ready to just do it and accept Saudi “blood money” if given the opportunity. “I’m a Nike guy, also, so I’m not going to do that thing where I pick and choose what I’m outraged about, where my money comes from,” Barkley said. “I just don’t think that is fair. I think that makes you a hypocrite. “

Barkley, who is set to play in LIV Golf’s Pro-Am event next week at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey and had dinner with Norman this week to discuss joining up with the upstart series as an analyst, pointed out the hypocrisy of golfers and pro tours who have been paid to play in Saudi Arabia and China criticizing LIV. (He may have a point.)

“Listen, they are making up words, like ‘blood money’ and ‘sportswashing.’ We have all taken ‘blood money’ and we all have ‘sportswashed’ something so I don’t like those words, to be honest with you,” Barkley said. “If you are in pro sports, you are taking some type of money from not a great cause.” (Sportswashing was just added to the dictionary.)

Given that viewpoint, Barkley could be willing to put his $10 million annual contract with Turner Sports to work on TNT’s Inside the NBA at risk by taking an analyst job at LIV. A move like that would also put Barkley’s endorsement deals with companies like Subway and Capital One on the line — but perhaps Norman will throw enough money his way to make it worth it.

“In a perfect scenario, I would love to do both,” Barkley told The Post. “I don’t know how Turner’s sponsors are going to feel about it. I know there is going to be some blowback. Between [my Turner contract] and all my commercials, for me to risk all of that, it would have to be some serious money thrown my way.”

Maybe there will be and maybe Barkley will take it. After all, he isn’t a role model. At least he already told us as much.