Despite the furor over his comments about hitting a woman, Charles Barkley will appear on Thursday night’s “Inside the NBA,” sources tell Front Office Sports.
Look for Barkley to apologize again for his tasteless joke to Axios reporter Alexi McCammond, said sources.
But his appearance on TNT’s Emmy Award-winning NBA pregame show indicates Barkley will not be suspended, or even fired, as some critics called for on Wednesday.
Barkley apologized to McCammond via a statement by Turner Sports’ public relations arm on Wednesday.
“My comment was inappropriate and unacceptable,” said the basketball Hall of Famer. “It was an attempted joke that wasn’t funny at all. There’s no excuse for it and I apologize.”
The controversy started Tuesday when McCammond, a political reporter covering the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign, ran into Barkley at an Atlanta-area bar.
McCammond tweeted that Barkley told her, “I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you.” When McCammond objected, Barkley said she “couldn’t take a joke.”
After his apology, McCammond shared her feelings on Twitter.
“The comments Charles Barkley made to me are not acceptable. Threats of violence are not a joke, & no person deserves to be hit or threatened like that. Silence only allows the culture of misogyny to fester.”
As her story went viral, she tweeted: “I encourage you to consider how you’d respond if a friend said something similar to what Barkley said tonight. And then challenge yourself to ask the same of yourself if a stranger (or ‘celebrity’) said that. I hope the answers are the same. Everyone should be held accountable.”
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) supported McCammond Wednesday.
“Charles Barkley’s comment to reporter Alexi McCammond, which included the words ‘I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you’ is highly offensive and unacceptable. Additionally, when Ms. McCammond objected to his comment, she said he responded, ‘You can’t take a joke.’ NABJ finds no humor in this case and calls on not only Barkley but everyone to refrain from using insulting language and actions that are threats of physical or mental abuse — no matter how they are presented,” said NABJ in a statement.
Barkley joined “Inside the NBA” in 2000. He’s been widely recognized as the best analyst in sports TV. Over the last two decades, his show has been called the gold standard for pregame studio programs.
The NBA’s 1993 Most Valuable Player is known for his politically incorrect comments, including his ’90’s ad campaign for Nike where he told parents: “I am not a role model.”