The Notorious C.W.B.
Could the man in the above photo actually become the Governor of Alabama one day?
In today's world, anything is possible, but I'd have to say it's not likely. Just as it's not likely that Barkley will ever be an NBA GM one day, even though he stated matter of factly that he "is going to be an NBA GM" on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption last week.
To many people in the sporting community, Barkley is like a big, lovable, talking teddy bear, who fans and players alike revered for his candidness and on air personality as a broadcaster.
Truth be told, Barkley is a teddy bear that has spit on a little girl at a basketball game (albeit he wasn't aiming at her), broke a man's nose in one fist fight after an away game and threw another man through a plate glass window on another occasion, (Sounds a little more like Chewbacca than the Snuggles Bear to me).
For years Barkley has gotten free pass to speak freely on many sensitive topics of a social and racial nature that many other black sports personalities get blasted for in the media. Jason Whitlock of FOX Sports and Detroit Piston Rasheed Wallace are examples of black sports personalities that have felt the backlash of being openly vocal about racial issues, a dynamic that apparently has no affect on Barkley's relationship with fans or his bosses.
Sir Charles has called Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson race baiters, said that athletes should not be role models for children and also told USA Today that the reason that black people cannot be successful is because of other black people. While there are many who would agree with his assertions, it is still a wonder that in today's 'politically correct' media, the future Hall-of-Fame player remains unchecked.
Now, Barkley's gambling addiction has been thrust front and center for the world to see and the picture that has been painted is not a pretty one.
According to Bloomberg News reports, Wynn Resorts Ltd., which owns a casino in Las Vegas is suing the 'Round Mound of Rebound' for $400,000. Money which the casino reports to have loaned Barkley last October.
When asked why he hadn't paid back the money, Barkley said simply, "I let the time lapse...I forgot." Like the comedian Chris Rock once said. "You don't ever forget where you got some free money."
I do not dislike Charles Barkley, but I don't have any special affinity for him as a commentator nor as a representative of the black perspective in sports. Part of the reason that it seems to get away with being on the controversial side of many topics is because he has always been quick to dismiss the pulse of much of black America, choosing a position that often comes off as elitist.
Even in in his response to the gambling debt he is facing in Nevada now, "I'm not broke..." Barkley added. The problem is many Americans are broke, or close to it anyway. In Alabama, where Barkley wants to be Governor someday, over a million people are living below the poverty level and over 65% of those people are black citizens.
Barkley is taking some heat for his recent gambling revelations, but he continues to push forward as if he's wearing a teflon suit. While the majority of blacks in Alabama are living paycheck to paycheck, he acknowledges that he has lost over $10 million in his lifetime, once over $1 million in a single day.
Yet Barkley continues to brush any character defects off of his shoulders with callous disregard to both the example he might be setting for the next generation of aspiring sports stars concerning fiscal responsibility as well as the judgement capabilities, or lack therof that you think he would need to exhibit for any constituency he may plan on pandering for votes in the future.
One of Barkley's most memorable assertions in his career was that athletes should not be role models. If we are to take Barkley's actions into as much consideration as his words, then he is dead on in that assessment.
If his track record is anything to gauge his performance by, they shouldn't be Governors either.
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