ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) — Hall of Famer and current NBA analyst Charles Barkley admitted Thursday to using racial slurs with his friends.
Commenting on Los Angeles Clippers’ Matt Barnes using the “N” word on Twitter and the Miami Dolphins bullying investigation on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” Barkley stated he will continue to use the racial slur around his friends and that white people should not dictate how he talks.
“I’m a black man. I use the ‘N’ word,” Barkley said. “I’m going to continue to use the ‘N’ word with my black friends, with my white friends. They are my friends.”
Barkley compared the current debate to the controversy surrounding Paula Deen, who admitted using the racial slur previously.
“This debate goes back to the Paula Deen thing, where they’re like, ‘Black people use it amongst themselves, it’s in rap records,’” Barkley said. “Listen, what I do with my black friends is not up to white America to dictate to me what’s appropriate and inappropriate.”
Barkley believes that is what is said in the locker room should stay in the locker room, referring to the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga in Miami where Martin accused Incognito of bullying and calling him the ‘N’ word.
“The language we use sometimes it’s homophobic, sometimes it’s sexist, and a lot of times it’s racist. We do that when we’re joking with our teammates and it’s nothing personal,” Barkley said.
Barkley also said he’s tired of “regular people” trying to make sports politically correct.
“White America don’t get to dictate how me and (Shaquille O’Neal) talk to each other and they have been trying to infiltrate themselves saying, ‘Well you guys use it, it’s in rap music.’ No, that’s not the same,” Barkley said. “As I tell my white friends who I love like brothers … they’ve asked me, When is it appropriate? I say well when you use it around the wrong brother the next thing you’re going to hear is the clock side to your damn head. That’s when it’s inappropriate.”
Barkley played with the Philadelphia 76ers, the Phoenix Suns and the Houston Rockets over 16 seasons, and won the gold medal twice playing for USA Basketball in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics.