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Charles Barkley pushed back over criticism against golfers who chose to jump to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, and he’s reportedly in talks about joining the series as a broadcaster.
LIV Golf participants have been scrutinized over joining the league for ridiculous sums of money. Critics have pointed to Saudi Arabia’s alleged human rights violations and accusations against the kingdom about its involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks.
Barkley told the New York Post Wednesday he spoke to LIV Golf Commissioner Greg Norman about the critics of the league.
A close-up shot of TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley talking on set before a New York Knicks game against the Cleveland Cavaliers Oct. 25, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. (David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
“I told [Norman], listen, they are making up words like ‘blood money’ and ‘sportswashing.’ I said, ‘We have all taken ‘blood money,’ and we all have ‘sportswashed’ something, so I don’t like those words, to be honest with you,'” Barkley said.
“If you are in pro sports, you are taking some type of money from not a great cause.”
Asked whether the NBA’s relationship with China was one example, Barkley replied, “Yeah, I don’t want to practice selective outrage.”
Barkley was asked whether it was different given that LIV Golf is directly backed by the Public Investment Fund, the financial arm of the Saudi government, which he would be receiving a paycheck from.
Basketball analyst and former NBA player Charles Barkley reacts to fans after putting on the 14th green during the final round of the American Century Championship at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course July 10, 2022, in Stateline, Nev. (Isaiah Vazquez/Clarkson Creative/Getty Images)
“Now, that’s semantics,” Barkley said. “I’m a Nike guy, also, so I’m not going to do that thing where I pick and choose what I’m outraged about, where my money comes from. I just don’t think that is fair. I think that makes you a hypocrite.”
Barkley has been rumored to be meeting with LIV Golf officials about possibly becoming a broadcaster for the series. He’s currently an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” He’s expected to play a LIV Golf pro-am at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey.
He confirmed that some of his endorsers reached out to him about the potential meeting with LIV Golf officials. He said he told them he hadn’t met with anyone just yet.
“Let’s let this thing play out before you all call me all upset,” he told them.
Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf, tosses beers to spectators at the 18th green during the Portland Invitational LIV Golf tournament in North Plains, Ore., July 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Dipaola)
Three more PGA Tour pros joined LIV Golf this week.
Henrik Stenson, Jason Kokrak and Charles Howell III were the latest to jump ship. Stenson lost his Ryder Cup captaincy over it.
Ryan Gaydos is the sports editor for Fox News and Fox Business. Story tips can be sent to Ryan.Gaydos@fox.com.