Charles Barkley says he wants to continue with his current job as an analyst for “Inside the NBA” while also pursuing other opportunities, such as commentating for LIV Golf.
Barkley told the New York Post that he recently had dinner with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman to possibly discuss a broadcasting role with the Saudi-backed tour.
Before that meeting, he met with others in the industry, including Bryant Gumbel, Michael Wilbon and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
“In a perfect scenario, I would love to do both,” Barkley told The New York Post. “I don’t know how Turner’s sponsors are going to feel about it. I know there is going to be some blowback.”
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Saudi Arabia has been accused of wide-ranging human rights abuses, including politically motivated killings, torture, forced disappearances and inhumane treatment of prisoners. And members of the royal family and Saudi government were accused of involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist.
Barkley said he wasn’t going to have “selective outrage” about looking into the chance to make more money.
“I told [Norman,]” Barkley said. “’Listen, they are making up words, like ‘blood money’ and ‘sportswashing.’ I said, ‘We have all taken ‘blood money’ and we all have ‘sportswashed’ something so I don’t like those words, to be honest with you.’
“If you are in pro sports, you are taking some type of money from not a great cause.”
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer makes $10 million a year at Turner Sports and millions more from numerous sponsors. Those sponsors had a word with Barkley, but he told them he hasn’t made any official decision or signed a contract with LIV.
“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.
“And let’s be fair, all these golf tours have played in Saudi Arabia and China. That was my point.”