Former NBA star Charles Barkley says he’s ready to tackle race in America. The Inside the NBA analyst for TNT will star in a new television series as he travels the country exploring racial division. The working title of the new series is The Race Card.
The series will begin airing early in 2017.
TNT is promoting the new show as an opportunity for Barkley to offer blunt opinions on race. In a news release TNT said:
“NBA legend and Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley has had enough. The America that he knew has lost its way, becoming mired in partisan politics, social divides and entrenched corporate interests. Now he hopes to get to the root of the problem in the new limited-run series The Race Card.”
TNT has ordered six hour-long episodes of the show. Barkley is expected to have full editorial control over the project.
“Barkley will put ideas on their feet, with real-world proof-of-concept tests that will engage people and expose the truth behind their closely held beliefs,” TNT said in the release. “In the end, Barkley will reach his own conclusions guided only by his ownwits and common-sense wisdom.”
Raise you hand if you think this is a fish-outta-water bad idea. Barkley — NBA Hall of Famer and TNT’S basketball analyst — is about as qualified to intelligently discuss hot-button race issues, as Donald Trump is qualified to be president.
Both of them are out of their depth; wading in water above heir collective heads.
The rambling mouth of Barkley can say almost anything at anytime. He is rarely measured in tone or content. On the contrary, his non-NBA quotes are usually inflammatory, uninformed and reckless.
No doubt, Barkley can be knee slapping funny and charming at times; however, his slap-stick regularly comes across as camera mugging buffoonery. And he seems to relish the brownie points he receives by disparaging and criminalizing the black community.
Just a sample of Barkleyisms:
“The notion that white cops are out there just killing black people — that’s ridiculous. That’s just flat-out ridiculous,” he told CNN.
“I challenge any black person to try to make that point. Cops are actually awesome. They are the only thing in the ghetto between this place being the wild, wild west. So this notion that cops are out there just killing black men is ridiculous and I hate that narrative coming out of this entire situation.”
Barkley on the George Zimmerman trial verdict:
“Clearly, something went wrong and I feel bad for anybody that loses a kid. But if you look at the case, and you don’t make it…there was some racial profiling, no question about it. Something happened to change the dynamic of that night. And that’s probably not a popular opinion among most people but just looking at the evidence, I agreed with the verdict.”
In a nutshell, Barkley is that go to black guy for mainstream press looking for an absurd quote critiquing the black community.
You may ask: Why is Charles Barkley given this platform? Or, as Neil McCauley rhetorically asks and answers: Why do they keep asking Charles Barkley stuff?
Because he’s gonna give them the answer they want.
IMHO, race is a serious and sensitive discussion topic; and it requires a reporter/journalist with the cerebral skill set of a Bryant (or brother Greg) Gumbel, Bob Costas, Mike Tirico.
This is not the lane for Barkley.