Charles Barkley isn’t one to hold his opinion to himself.
When the Brooklyn Nets pull the trigger and hired Steve Nash as their next head coach, Barkley was paying attention to the media circle.
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 continued with the just because attributing Nash’s hiring to race is problematic doesn’t mean there is not an issue of a lack of black leadership consisting of head coaches or managers 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.”
Barkley makes some interesting points. For one, a lot of the available head coaches on the market guys who have had coaching opportunities already in the league.
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving had to sign off for Nash to get this job. That’s more of a black vote of confidence rather than privilege move.