I’m pretty confident I don’t have to justify with any explanations or make any qualifications as to why Charles Barkley is the man. It’s been gone over a million times already. The man says what he thinks and doesn’t give a damn what anyone else has to say about it. That’s why it was refreshing to hear that Sir Chuck appeared on Dan LeBatard’s radio show on 790 The Ticket in Miami today.
Among the topics discussed: how Gilbert Arenas is, while a jokester, still stupid and made incredibly bad decisions but that shouldn’t mean he should lose $90 million by having his contract voided. He also discussed his appearance on SNL and how he compares it to being on the Dream Team. But Chuck really hits his stride when addressing the shitstorm engulfing Mark McGwire at the present moment.
Via Sports Radio Interviews/Sporting News:
On McGwire using steroids:
I was listening to a little bit of your conversation when you came on about the baseball situation. There are two things that bother me about writers. Number one: when they act like they are holier than thou. But also this notion where, “This guy hasn’t been nice to us.”
I don’t judge basketball players by whether they’re nice to me or not. When I go on television, my job is to talk about their basketball. You have too many reporters… crying like a little girl talking about, “Well, he hasn’t been very nice to the press.” So what? That’s not your job. Do your job. Don’t act like you’re holier than thou and you’re protecting every detail of the game, or the guy hasn’t kissed up to you all these years.
On whether or not he thinks baseball player who used steroids should be Hall of Famers:
I think that Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens… I think those guys should all go into the Hall of Fame. And let me explain why.
We know there is at least one list that has 104 people, right? Clearly, there were more than 104. My problem with the whole era is these are the only guys that are going to get penalized, the Hall of Famers. All the other guys played in that era. I heard John Kruk — and I like John Kruk — he said, “Well, I was clean.” Well, he still benefited by the financial structure. All the players during that era benefited through the financial structure.
But my biggest problem is, like I was saying, to penalize four guys and keep them out of the Hall of Fame when, clearly, a bunch of guys were doing it — we know of at least 104 and clearly there were more — to penalize four guys and not put them in the Hall of Fame when a bunch were doing it, I think that’s totally unfair.
The way Barkley lays it out, it’s hard to disagree with him at face value. However, this is a complicated issue – that doesn’t mean that I don’t see Barkley’s point, it’s just that Barkley sees everything in black and white, and rarely are matters such as these completely devoid of any gray area.
With that said, his point about John Kruk is spot-fricking-on. All the players who were in the Major League during the steroid era reaped the financial benefits, so the fact that they blindly condemn other players who did use steroids or performance-enhancing drugs should at the very least leave them feeling a bit conflicted. At least as far as their wallets are concerned.