I love Charles Barkley. Not the player, not the analyst, not the bad golfer, I love Charles Barkley the sound bite. This week Sir Charles inserted himself into the Gene Chizik hiring as the Head Football Coach at his alma mater, Auburn University. Charles loudly criticized the move, noted Chizik's 5-19 record at Iowa State and suggested that Turner Gill, the Head Coach at Buffalo University was a better hire and was passed over simply because he was black. Now I don't know for sure if this is the truth and nothing would be surprise me in Alabama, which is stuck in 1959, but the one thing that is for sure is that I'm glad Charles Barkley opens his big mouth, whether I agree with him or not. Charles, in a lot of ways, is confusing to me. He has no problem with giving his real opinion about almost anything and is not the least bit concerned with losing his job, any endorsements or his standing. Yet he calls Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, two of the biggest cowards ever in terms of speaking out for or against anything, two of his closest friends. What I like about Charles the most is how he makes people either angry or uncomfortable with his rantings. There are angry white men up and down the state of Alabama calling him a loudmouth along with some other names not fit. On the other hand, there are tons of black women telling him to shut up because he didn't feel fit to marry a black woman when he made all those millions. I'm going to let you all in on a little secret that most people of color already know: a lot of us (myself excluded) don't pay attention to Charles when he talks about race because in some of our eyes his white wife renders him not qualified to speak on such issues. I, for one, love his refreshing honesty and I'm glad his superstar status and good work on TNT has not led him to go the MJ or Woods route and become silent. Whether you guys like it or not, we NEED people like Charles Barkley to say what others are afraid to say. I know a ton of black athletes with black wives who won't say a thing about this hire, are you listening Bo Jackson? The fact is, we are not here to break down Charles dating choices, listen to the message, a message that I'm glad was put out there for public discussion. I'm sure that backwoods mentality that still resides in Alabama is wishing the big black man had just followed the leads of most and kept quiet, I'm glad he's still speaking for those who don't have the voice to do so.
Never has such a big mouth been needed more than now.