Charles Barkley is no stranger to controversy. Seemingly in every broadcast he finds a way to offend some section of the universe through his impassioned monologues and off-the-cuff comments. Often times we can chalk it up to him being how he is, but other times his words end up causing a bit of a stir that resonates beyond the “Chuck will be Chuck” sentiment.
As part of the Inside The NBA segment during the Warriors’ loss to the Rockets in double overtime on Thursday night, Barkley had some harsh criticism for Golden State. But it wasn’t the fact that he was taking shots at the Warriors that made news, it was how he said it:
“Maybe I’m old school,” Barkley said, “but I’m never going to like that little girly basketball where you have to outscore people.”
Naturally people were upset, and you could see it in aggregated stories about the clip and in countless tweets. On Friday during The Jump on ESPN, Rachel Nichols weighed in.
“Think about how it feels for girls watching you to hear you use ‘girly’ or ‘girls’ as a substitute word for ‘weak’ or lame,” Nichols said on the air. “It’s not okay. And his point back to me was he was just having some fun and as he put it he was – ‘intent matters’ – and he is right. It does. But to borrow one of Chuck’s own favorite phrases, in my opinion, that is still not good enough to feel okay about that expression. This is not a PC police thing. I’m not offended in any way. This is just about girls out there who love watching Chuck talk about basketball as much as I do who shouldn’t have to grow up feeling like they’re the living, human stand-in definition for being less than or weak. And frankly, young boys shouldn’t be thinking that about girls either.”
As she often does, Nichols made a good point. It probably won’t change Barkley’s mind, or stop him from speaking whatever pops into his head either, but it was a reasoned and thoughtful counter to Chuck’s comments.