Charles Barkley, a washed-up basketball star who loves to say inappropriate things for shock value, believes it is all well and good to threaten to punch a woman reporter as long as it’s a “joke.” On Tuesday night, Axios reporter Alexi McCammond tweeted that in an interview, Barkley told her, “I don’t hit women but if I did I would hit you,” after she questioned him on his love for Deval Patrick.
This is not funny at all, particularly considering that Barkley has a track record with off the court violence. While that violence has never been directed towards a woman that we know of, when a man says he would punch you and he’s been arrested for it previously, it makes sense to believe him.
After a brief Twitter storm, Turner Sports PR released an apology on behalf of Barkley, saying the statements he made were “inappropriate and unacceptable.” But when you consider that Barkley has been saying these types of things since the late ‘90s, how much is an apology worth? More importantly, how will he be punished? If history is any indication, he likely won’t be—Barkley and his off-color comments are a cash cow for the networks that broadcast every word he says. Every time Charles Barkley says some wild shit or wears an ugly tie, a producer gets his wings.
McCammond, who is a political reporter and shouldn’t be bothered with having to explain herself in this situation, took a moment in the midst of her own kerfuffle to remind everyone of the fact that “nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the US. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence.” So maybe it’s Charles Barkley who doesn’t understand how jokes actually work.