Charles Barkley has announced that he will stay at TNT to follow the NBA, and that he is giving up a broadcaster contract for LIV Golf, a professional golf circuit led by former player Greg Norman and financed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.
Charles Barkley, statements
A position that if accepted, would have prevented Barkley from continuing to work with TNT and in the cast of the successful Inside the NBA with Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson, Candace Parker, Dwyane Wade and Draymond Green. Sir Charles confirmed to the NY Post that he had therefore renounced the pre-agreement signed with Norman, thanking him for the opportunity, and explaining that he too declined to avoid speculation and controversy related to his partnership with the Public Investment Fund.
LIV Golf was born as an alternative to the PGA professional golf circuit, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia under the control of the Salman Al Saud family and Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, was accused of having created its own circuit as a recycling operation of money. The same partnership and ties with the Saudis, accused of violating human rights in their country and of the involvement of Prince Bin Salman in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, would have constituted a reason for “embarrassment” for Charles Barkley given the direct accusations of the government. USA against the Saudi heir.
Greg Norman himself has had to face controversy about his role as CEO of LIV Golf, and about the opportunity to lend his job and his image alongside the Saudis. LIV Golf has a roster of 60 golfers, including the celebrated Phil Mickelson.
Barkley explained: “I thank Norman and LIV Golf for their interest, I only wish them success but in my interest and that of Turner Sports, the best thing for me is to stay with them for the rest of my career on TV.” On the controversy over the Public Investment Fund: “Everyone talks about money laundering, dirty money… I say that if you are a sportsman it can happen that you take money from people or organizations that you may not appreciate. I’m not a hypocrite, those who play in the LIV do it for a living (…) here everyone plays at moralizing their neighbor, and practicing indignation only on alternate days. As for me, I don’t allow that to happen with me”.