Charles Barkley Is Fine With Joining LIV Golf Because ‘We Have All Taken Blood Money And We Have All Sports Washed Something’

The world of NBA broadcasting looks like it’s approaching a gigantic crossroad. Charles Barkley, the Inside the NBA commenter who has spent the last 20+ years as one of the most popular analyst in the game, took a meeting with the upstart golf league LIV Golf earlier this week to discuss joining in some capacity.

LIV Golf, which launched earlier this year, is funded by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. This has led to criticism of the league and the golfers who have accepted gigantic paydays, primarily that they are participating in sportswashing by letting Saudi Arabia use sports as a way to take attention away from their record of human rights violations.

As Barkley explained to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post in the aftermath of his meeting with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, he does not believe this criticism is done in good faith.

“I told [Norman,]” Barkley said. “’Listen, they are making up words, like ‘blood money’ and ‘sports washing.’ I said, ‘We have all taken ‘blood money’ and we all have ‘sports washed’ 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.”

Barkley, who confirmed to Marchand that he has three years and $30 million remaining on his deal with Turner (which he has said will likely lead to his retirement from broadcasting upon its conclusion), responded to a question about whether he views the NBA’s relationship with China as an example of this by saying he doesn’t “want to practice selective outrage,” then noted that he is sponsored by Nike and that “I’m not going to do that thing where I pick and choose what I’m outraged about, where my money comes from.”

He did, however, essentially mention that a major factor in all of this is that LIV Golf’s offer makes it worth leaving Turner and, potentially, losing his sponsors like Capital One and Subway, many of whom reached out in the aftermath of the news he would meet with Norman.

“Between the number you just mentioned [$10 million per year] and all my commercials, for me to risk all of that, it would have to be some serious money thrown my way,” Barkley said.