Former Basketball Hall-Of-Fame player and analyst Charles Barkley stirred up some controversy on the green as he openly talked about possibly joining the LIV Golf Tour as a broadcaster. He would later state that he’s sticking with Turner Sports.
The highly opinionated hoops commentator was participating as a guest in the pro-am third event of the LIV Golf Tour, which was being held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey on Thursday (July 28th). As he played through the 18 holes of the course, he spoke about wanting to be a part of the tour as a commentator and mentioned that he had informal talks with Greg Norman, chief executive of the tour series. Barkley did publicly state a deadline of sorts: “When I wake up in the morning, if they haven’t said anything, I’m going to say, ‘Guys, I’ll play in your pro-am whenever you want me to, if I’m available. But I’m going to go back to my job.’ I love my job and I don’t think it’s fair for them to keep holding on.”
However, on Friday morning Barkley made it known that he was sticking with Turner Sports. “I wish those guys great success and nothing but the best. But, in my best interest, and being fair to Turner — because Turner and basketball have given me every single thing in my life — It is best for me to move on and I’m staying with Turner for the rest of my TV career.” Barkley’s current contract with TNT has him with the network for three more years at $30 million dollars.
The LIV Golf series has caused a firestorm of controversy in the golf world, primarily due to its financial backing from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund created by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Many have criticized the team-golf tour as an attempt to sanitize the image of the Crown Prince, who has been linked to the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi who was a critic of the Saudi government. Family members of the victims who perished in the 9/11 attacks were planning to protest the tournament at Bedminster on Friday, believing that the Saudi government supported the terrorists who carried out the attacks.