For every few thousand people out there that are outraged over the idea that college athletes would accept money and gifts from sports agents, there’s one who sees nothing wrong with it at all. Marshall Faulk said he would have taken money while in college and now Charles Barkley not only says he also would have — he did.
In an interview with the Dan Patrick Show that can be heard here, Barkley said he took money from agents in college and thinks there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you pay the person back. He also thinks there was no need for Reggie Bush to give his Heisman Trophy back.
If a guy wants to borrow money from an agent because he’s poor, what is wrong with that?” Barkley said. “Nobody can tell me what is wrong with that. I got money from agents when I was in college and I went in the ’80s. Most of the players I know borrowed money from agents. The colleges don’t give us anything. If they give us a pair of sneakers, they get in trouble. Why can’t an agent lend me some money and I’ll pay him back when I graduate?”
“I’m disappointed Reggie is giving the Heisman back because these colleges are making so much money off these kids,” Barkley said. “Reggie made one mistake. He should have paid those [agents] back and this whole thing never would have happened.”
The fact that Barkley is opposing the mainstream media and thinks too much is being made of the issue is not a surprise considering he thinks paparazzi should be shot. As much as I hate to admit it, I understand his point. Colleges make a lot of money off players and aren’t allowed to give them a thing for it. Bush definitely should have paid back the money whether borrowing it was immoral or not.
However, there are really too many factors at work to make exceptions. It’s tough to treat the issue of players accepting money as an “its okay if…” type of situation. You either think it’s fine or you don’t. The agents aren’t shelling out the money because they feel bad for the players. They’re doing it because they want to profit from them later. You can’t punish a person who takes money and doesn’t pay it back in a different way from someone who repays their debts, especially when it’s common knowledge that agents are looking out for their own interest if they lend money anyway.
Whatever the case, thanks for your opinion, Charles. Tremendously respected and appreciated as usual. Now go drink some tequila.Google+