Charles Barkley, the most outspoken man in sports, had some very, very interesting thoughts on the N-word (as it pertains to the Matt Barnes tweet, Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito and even Paula Deen), White America and locker room banter among friends during a brilliant five minute rant on TNT’s Inside the NBA. Here’s a tiny excerpt; you’ll have to watch the entire video for all of Barkley’s bracing candor, which will surely anger some folks.
“I’m a black man. I use the N-Word. I’m going to continue to use the N-word with my black friends, with my white friends, they are my friends. In the locker room and when I’m with my friend, we use racial slurs.”
“What I do with my black friends is not up to white America to dictate to me … what we say in the locker room – it should always stay in the locker room – the language we use, sometimes it’s homophobic, sometimes it’s sexist, a lot of times, it’s racist … we do that when we’re joking with our teammates. it’s nothing personal.”
“This national debate … makes me uncomfortable … White America don’t get to dictate how me and Shaq talk to each other. They have been trying to [when they say] … ‘you guys use it, it’s in rap music’ … no, no, no it’s not the same … as I tell my white friends who I love like brothers … [they ask] when is it appropriate to use? If you use it around the wrong brother, the next thing you hear is a clock upside your damn head.”
There’s much more, and I urge you to listen to it all. I’ll need some time to process it, but my first thought? I applaud Charles Barkley for not being afraid to speak his mind. On a subject like this, that’s a very risky move.
The Blake Griffin-should-fight-back topic is also worthy of a discussion.