NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley, 58, famous for not mincing words, had some strong language for athletes in the NBA and NFL regarding vaccination, acknowledging that he had been vaccinated while adding, “Everybody should be vaccinated. Period. The only people who are not vaccinated are just a**holes.”
Barkley told CNBC that sports leagues should demand that their players get vaccinated. He stated, “Can you imagine if one of these guys that are not vaccinated, if they get one of these players’ kids, wives, girlfriends, moms and dads sick and they die over some unnecessary conspiracy bulls***? I think that would be tragic.”
Likening professional athletics to a corporate job, he continued, “There’s s*** you can’t do at work and there’s s*** that have to do at work. So every workplace has rules and I think one of the rules [should be] that guys have to be vaccinated.”
“Up to 80% of NFL players, 90% of NBA players and 85% of MLB players have reportedly had at least one shot. But there have been players and coaches who have publicly refused to be vaccinated,” CNBC reported, adding, “NFL’s guidelines required vaccination for all Tier 1 staff, including coaches, front-office executives, equipment managers and scouts. However, NFL players are not required to be vaccinated.”
Neither the NBA nor MLB require vaccinations of their players.
In mid-June, as The Daily Wire reported, Charles Barkley announced he would be leaving “Inside the NBA,” where he had co-hosted for 21 years, when he turns 60, blasting the woke culture that pervaded the sports world. He told Washington sports radio station 106.7 The Fan that his bosses were “cowards,” adding, “It’s gotten so out of hand right now, I couldn’t imagine having to watch myself. You can’t even have fun nowadays without these jackasses trying to get you canceled and things like that. … [I’m] just having fun, talking about sports. I’m trying to hang on for another couple years until I’m 60, and then they can kiss my ass. I’m only working until 60. I’ve already told them that. We can’t even have fun anymore. We’ve had fun all these years, and now all of a sudden in the last year and a half, everybody’s trying to get everybody fired, and it really sucks.”
In July 2020, speaking on a pre-game podcast on TNT, Barkley defended athletes who chose not to kneel for the national anthem, asserting, “My thing is, listen, the national anthem means different things to different people. I’m glad these guys are all unified. But if people… If people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel ‘cause the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified.”
Barkley is well-known for bluntly challenging the status quo; in January 2016, he ripped ESPN for race-baiting in the run-up to the Super Bowl, saying on “The Dan Patrick Show” that ESPN was “framing the narrative” of the game featuring Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos and Cam Newton’s Carolina Panthers. He said, “ESPN has already started their crap about black versus white, good versus evil — and I know a lot of those fools over there got radio talk shows … It really annoys the hell out of me. We really just can’t appreciate the greatness of Peyton [Manning]. And, clearly, Cam is on the track to become one of the greatest players ever. You can already see them framing this narrative ‘black versus white, good versus evil.’”
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