OPINION: Charles Barkley Bares All During Tele-Conference

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Today, Charles Barkley took part in a conference call to promote his appearance in this year’s American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. However, as Barkley tends to do, he allowed himself (with the pushing of reporters) to go a little off topic.

During the phone call, Barkley reiterated that he has indeed stopped gambling. He claimed that he has not missed gambling, but that he will gamble again someday. Apparently, Barkley said the reason he needed to stop gambling was “because [he] was losing.” I will come back to that in a second.

Barkley also addressed his latest run-in with the law, when he was stopped for a DUI in Arizona earlier this year. For that incident, Barkley paid a $2,000 fine and spent 3 days in jail. He also had to attend an alcohol treatment program. However, Barkley admits that none of that has prevented him from continuing to drink; he just does not drive under the influence…anymore.

Before, I begin to opine, let me reiterate a point I acknowledge all of the time at TheSportsWatchers.com: I love Charles Barkley. He is one of the most entertaining, witty, intelligent people I have ever seen, and he always means well—or so it seems. I often tune into TNT regular season NBA broadcasts after the games are over, just because I want to hear what Barkley has to say every night. In fact, I am more likely to record the TNT post game show than the game itself.

Now that I have that out of the way, I have to say this: What the hell is wrong with this man? I don’t doubt his intelligence or any of the other butt-kissing compliments I just sent his way. Yet for him to act as if he is so remorseful, yet essentially go on to say that he is going to continue to live his life as he always has, is borderline ignorant. The man honestly said that he needed to take a break from gambling, not because he was possibly addicted to it and/or it was effecting his demeanor and everyday personality, but because he was losing. During the conference call, he made an analogy that basically conveyed that if he were winning too much money, no one would have a problem with his gambling. As if to say there aren’t addicted gamblers who win. Come on, Chuck!

The fact that the man said he will return to gambling, while not ridiculous, is more or less…how do you say…umm…stupid! I understand that Barkley has a lot of money and that TNT will continue to give him a lot of money for the rest of his life. However, that was never the issue with his gambling. We never saw Chuck selling his house to pay off a gambling debt. The issue was that he was becoming too consumed with gambling, to the point where it altered his lifestyle. And I don’t care what you say, but over participation in gambling can’t alter your lifestyle in a positive way—especially if you’re already rich.

Okay, so he has not learned his lesson with gambling, but you would think the whole drinking and driving thing would be easy enough to overcome. And that’s true, Chuck hasn’t had any issues with DUIs since the incident earlier this year, and hopefully we won’t have any such issues ever again. However, during the conference call, Barkley admitted to going out to dinner and having a drink before driving for the duration of the last 25 years. Now I know there is some merit to the baring of your soul, being completely honest, and starting a new, but maybe this isn’t really the place to do it. Maybe it isn’t such a good idea to tell the entire world that you’ve possibly been endangering the lives of people on the road for the majority of your life. Maybe you shouldn’t announce that you’re “lucky” to have never hurt anyone else while driving under the influence during a conference call. Maybe there are things that you should just keep to yourself.

You would think that after 25 years of being a public persona that Chuck would know a little something about being discrete. He of all people should understand that baring all of his faults is not a great idea, especially if he is essentially assuring people that his life is headed down the same treacherous path. I understand that he has no intention to drink and drive or gamble his money away, but in order for him to even be capable of doing those things, he has to actually continue to drink and gamble. Two things he apparently isn’t going to give up, and in case you didn’t know that, he thought he’d announce it to the world.

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