‘I don’t work for them’

Rory Geraghty

Every now and then, something happens in the media that refreshes me. Sometimes it is in print. Other times it is during a television broadcast or on the radio. Recently, Wolf Blitzer of CNN interviewed former professional basketball player Charles Barkley live via satellite. What ensued was more refreshing than a tall glass of cold lemonade on a hot summer day.

I’ll allow you, the reader, to watch the video on your own. Among all of the revitalizing words coming from Barkley’s mouth, he made a statement that has created a bit of a firestorm among viral video enthusiasts and political junkies alike.

“Every time I hear the word ‘conservative,’ it makes me sick to my stomach because they’re really just fake Christians, as I call them. That’s all they are . . . But they’re the most hypocritical judge of people we have in this country. And it bugs the hell out of me. They act like they’re Christians, and they’re not forgiving at all,” Barkley said.

Barkley also expressed his intent to run for governor of Alabama in 2014, when he becomes eligible under state law.

Controversy sells, and television stations such as CNN are very aware of it. However, Barkley is not the typical lightning rod commenter simply looking for attention – that wouldn’t be refreshing. He simply speaks his mind. He clearly does not give any credence to those that will undoubtedly judge him without truly listening to what he has to say.

That is refreshing.

If a well-known, respected politician were to exhibit the same qualities when interviewed, he or she would likely be showered with praise along the lines of being courageous and realistic in spite of the world of dirty politics surrounding them. But when someone like Charles Barkley speaks his mind, expressing the same qualities, he is burned at the stake.

Still refreshing? Yes, because Barkley will not back down from his statements. He speaks the truth as he sees it. It is a shame that many people cannot take the messages raw, without the sugar-coating. In the world we live in, many people would be more capable of understanding policy and issues if our leaders demonstrated qualities similar to those shown by Barkley.

Although Barkley was a Hall of Fame caliber performer during his playing days, he is now more well-known for his work on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” and for his “Fave 5” commercial spots for T-Mobile. Perhaps his regular quips on the state of basketball in the NBA and his commercial presence hurt his credibility in the arena of political commentary. Perhaps some people simply do not want to take a former athlete seriously, especially one like Barkley. After all, his list of past transgressions does include an after-hours altercation in which a man was thrown through a plate-glass window and a spitting incident in which some of the saliva landed on an 8-year-old girl sitting in the front row at the game.

Should Barkley’s comments be taken as truth? Maybe. Should Barkley be taken seriously when he opens his mouth? Definitely.

Regardless of his reputation or the particular comments he has made, Barkley will continue to provide a refreshing alternative to most opinion-makers simply because he is not afraid to express his point of view, minus the coat of sugar.

It could have been stated more eloquently, but one of Barkley’s statements struck a chord with me.

“They can’t do anything to me. I don’t work for them.”

Charles Barkley on conservatives

And now, just for fun

Rory Geraghty is a senior electronic media production major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].