Oct 25, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT
Charles Barkley was on ESPN Chicago radio recently, and he produced some pretty interesting sound. Hey, that’s what Charles Barkley does.
First, he revealed that he was with Michael Jordan when the body of Jordan’s missing father was found. He also related the story about how Jordan cursed him out when Barkley said on radio that Jordan wasn’t a good GM. Then the conversation moved to Lance Armstrong.
Barkley, who has talked about the Armstrong doping controversy before, hasn’t flip-flopped on the issue.
“Ya know what, I casually know Lance Armstrong and I’ve always liked Lance Armstrong, but man, its’ been a really bad week for Lance. You know, it’s an interesting thing to be honest with you, ’cause like apparently everybody in cycling cheats and I’m not condoning it or whatever, and he’s done some obviously some great stuff with the cancer thing, but what do you think people are more offended by? ‘Cause honestly I think they showed a stat the other day like everybody who’s won in the last 20 years has like tested positive for drugs. So it’s an interesting dynamic. People are mad because he won’t admit he did it.”
But what caught my ear the most was Barkley’s words on Tiger Woods. The two used to be bosom buddies, but following Tigers’ Thanksgiving, 2009 encounter with a fire hydrant and a tree while driving his SUV, the two have not spoken.
Barkley says he’s tried to get in touch with him, but Tiger won;t return his calls. And that doesn’t bother him. What does bother Barkley is all the people who take potshots at Woods, which he’s mentioned before. Barkley:
“All of us want nothing but the best from Tiger. But I will say this, I’m not gonna turn the other cheek all the time. I’m not gonna take the high road and I’m sick of these people, they been beating him down the last few years and he takes the high road.
“And what Greg Norman was saying was unnecessary. You know, Tiger’s had a great year, he’s won three times this year. If anybody else won three times they would have a great year. And ya know, he didn’t win a major. See, that’s one thing I hate about golf now, like, if you don’t win a major, you [suck]. … Tiger had a great year, he won three tournaments, he’s No. 2 in the world. He’s had a great year but I don’t like when people just take shots at guys. I hate that. Tiger ain’t bothering anybody right now. And I just think, ‘Dude, quit taking the high road.’”
What precisely Barkley is proposing is not clear: should Tiger lob golf balls at reporters? Attack Greg Norman with a club? Hurl insults at press conferences? Tiger in a bar brawl would be both hilarious and troubling. I just don’t see him as the confrontational type. When you wear slacks for a living, sometimes the low road just isn’t an option.
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