TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley seems to be as bulletproof as it gets when it comes to broadcasting leeway. The guy called his producer a p***y on-air a year ago and seemed to have escaped without repercussion. In November, he pulled off a stunt where he whitened his face to resemble Sammy Sosa — an act that would get most people fired under grounds of offensive actions. Charles is such a loose cannon that he’s earned the ability to offend people and say crazy things without any recourse. His personality is part of what makes him great but also what gets him into trouble. His latest offense — sticking his middle finger up at Ernie Johnson and flipping him the bird on live TV — crossed the line. Here’s a video of Chuck flipping off Ernie (description of the incident below if you can’t watch):
In their studio pre-game show, the analysts were discussing the Lakers’ road struggles (they went 2-3 on their road trip). They showed a picture of Kobe Bryant’s injured finger when discussing the Lakers injuries. Barkley interrupted Ernie Johnson by saying Kobe’s finger injury was not unusual and that every NBA player has crooked fingers from getting them jammed all the time. Ernie asked to see Barkley’s fingers for proof and naturally Barkley lifted his middle finger to Ernie, flipping off the entire audience watching on TNT. EJ admitted he should have known it was coming and immediately recognized that Barkley had done something wrong. He tried to get Barkley to cover his butt by saying “April Fools” but Barkley had no remorse.
I love Barkley’s honesty and analysis on TNT but that’s inexcusable behavior for someone on live TV. I have no doubt that there are lots of young kids who were tuned into watch the Mavs and Magic and saw that. Inexcusable.
Thanks to Jose3030 on twitter for the video.Google+