Charles Barkley ‘disappointed’ over Steve Nash ‘white privilege’ talk
Charles Barkley shared his response on Thursday night to some of the talk that Steve Nash got the Brooklyn Nets head coaching job due to “white privilege.”
In response to Nash receiving the job despite not having head coaching experience, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said Nash was benefiting from privilege due to his skin color. Barkley said on TNT later in the evening that he was “disappointed” with that sort of talk.
“I was very disappointed with some of the guys on television today talking about ‘white privilege.’ They’re like, ‘this doesn’t happen to black guys.’ I’m like, ‘it happened to Doc Rivers, it happened to Jason Kidd, it happened to Derek Fisher.’ So I was really disappointed,” Barkley said.
“I think when you have a responsibility, especially when you got to talk about something serious like race, you can’t be full of crap. You have to be honest and fair. Steve Nash is a great player and a good dude. But I was so disappointed. I was like, dude, ‘black guys have done this before,'” Barkley continued.
Barkley said that just because attributing Nash’s hiring to race is problematic doesn’t mean there is not an issue of a lack of black head coaches across sports.
“Now, do we need more black coaches in the NBA? Yes. Do we need more black coaches in college football? Yes. Do we need more black coaches in pro football? Yes. But this wasn’t the right time to say it today. Good luck to Steve Nash.”
Shaquille O’Neal felt that a lot of people were overlooked for the job and “it is what it is.”
Nash has previous experience working with Kevin Durant when he was on the Golden State Warriors. His hiring was approved by Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Nets’ front office also obviously wanted to hire Nash otherwise he wouldn’t have been hired. But this is a poor example of white privilege considering numerous black players have gotten head coaching jobs without previous experience. The hiring is likely more attributable to a bias towards former players, and specifically, former star point guards.