RealClearSports
Advertisement

RCS Sidelines


May 22, 2008 3:33 AM

If Only Pacman & Chris Henry Were As Funny As Barkley

Remember when Charles Barkley was not a role model and received major flack for that statement? Well, Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times, points out that now Barkley is basically untouchable.

Once, Ron Artest went into the stands after a loudmouth, and before the week was out, a thousand essays had been produced to decry the violence. Barkley once threw a loudmouth through a plate-glass window, and when he told the judge his only regret was they hadn't been on a higher floor, America laughed along.

Shelton is absolutely correct. Because of Barkley's joking nature and brutal honesty he displays on TNT's NBA coverage, no one seems concerned at all about Barkley's gambling debt. In fact, he will probably be elected to be governor of Alabama sometime in the future.

Shelton thinks it's Barkley's self-deprecating humor that gives him this get out of jail free card.

Perhaps he knows that, as a society, we need to laugh a little more at our shortcomings. The funnier a guy is today, the more likely we are to forget that he wasn't so amusing in yesterday's headlines.

It has worked for him. No matter what you think about Zoeller's statements regarding Tiger Woods long ago, he was trying (and failing) to be funny. But at the exact moment everyone become upset, Zoeller stopped being funny. At least in public.

When Barkley once said, "I hate white people,'' it didn't have the same shelf life. For one thing, Barkley said it to a white reporter he was friendly with. For another, Barkley's wife is white, and no one seems to think he was serious. A few jokes later, the controversy faded.

How can you get mad at someone who can take a joke like this in stride?

If Barkley keeps saying things like this:

When I was recruited at Auburn, they took me to a strip joint. When I saw (that body) on Buffy, I knew that Auburn met my academic requirements.

He can continue to do whatever he wants.

A Member Of