With the NBA season beginning this week, there’s a lot for hoops fans to digest.
There’s the new look of the Golden State Warriors with the addition of Kevin Durant, the chances of the Cleveland Cavaliers repeating their championship win, and the question of whether the offseason moves of Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade to their hometown teams pay dividends.
Yes, basketball is a busy time even in the offseason.
Speaking of offseason, world issues off the court still found its way to hoop conversation. In addition to the U.S.A. basketball team winning a gold medal in the Olympics, police brutality caught on camera coupled with a lack of communication between law enforcement was a topic of conversation among prominent athletes. Another major key discussed has been the soap opera that has become the 2016 presidential race between Hillary Rodham-Clinton and Donald J. Trump.
One person keyed in on the race is the always outspoken and opinionated Charles Barkley. A 16-year NBA vet and analyst on TNT’s Inside The NBA, Barkley is puzzled on who to vote for. “I’m undecided,” he said in an interview with VIBE. “I’m not undecided between them two, I’m undecided on whether I’m going to vote or not.”
A registered voter in the state of Arizona, a historically Republican ground, Barkley affirms that he votes on the Democratic ticket. Ironically, according to a new Arizona Republic/Morrison/Cronkite News poll released last week, Clinton is hanging on to a small but widening lead over Trump.
The pole also states that the Democratic presidential nominee and former U.S. secretary of state, is supported by 39 percent of likely Arizona voters surveyed. Her opponent, Trump, the Republican nominee and real-estate developer, is backed by 33.9 percent.
Barkley isn’t buying it. “She ain’t got no chance of winning Arizona. Let me tell you something, them people vote Republican no matter what.”
Barkley wasn’t lenient on Clinton’s opponent either. Earlier this month, a tape from 2005 emerged of Trump boasting to former NBC correspondent Billy Bush that being famous allowed him to “do anything” to women, including grabbing “them by the pu**y.”
Trump likened that conversation to locker room talk. So what exactly is locker room talk? According to Barkley, “It’s a lot of things.”
“Let me say this: I have a daughter, and there’s two women, three women here. It’s never appropriate to touch a woman, or grab a woman. I have a daughter too. It’s never appropriate to sexually assault or harass a woman, ever!” he said. “There’s no place for that. But, to act like I have not heard or said something inappropriate that I wouldn’t want to get to the public is not true. I’ve played for sixteen years, I’m not gonna sit here, I’m never going to lie to you guys. Never against sexual harassment or assault, there’s no place for that, ever.”
So where do you draw the line?
“It stays in the locker room,” he said. “First of all I’ve heard players say some stuff that I wouldn’t want repeated publicly, which I appreciate that. But I heard a bunch of players come right out and say, ‘We never talk bad in the locker room,’ which I know is BS. I’ve heard and said some stuff that I would not want to get out of the locker room.”
In a day and age where Clinton’s Wikileaks snafu and Trump not submitting tax returns is a topic of interest, is there any safe haven? Barkley doesn’t think so. “There’s no privacy anymore,” he said. “When I’m with my homeboy’s there’s stuff that we said last week, I wouldn’t want the public to hear.”
With the 2016 presidential election days away, a new leader of the free world will occupy the White House’s Oval Office next year. This will usher two-term President Barack Obama out of office. “I remember crying the first night he was elected,” said Barkley. “I never thought there would be a black president in my day. It was one of the greatest days of my life. “
Brandon Robinson is a sports and entertainment writer, radio and TV personality. Check out his weekly #ScoopBRadio show by visiting ScoopBRadio.com. Make sure to also follow him on Twitter @SCOOPB and visit ScoopB.com.