‘They’re All Crooks’: Charles Barkley Slams The Idea Of Getting Politicians Involved In College Sports

Former NBA player Charles Barkley made his opinion about politicians clear this week when discussing NCAA President Charlie Baker’s suggestion that the association consults with politicians about name, image, and likeness guidelines. 

During an interview this week, Baker said that he would be speaking to people “in Washington” about creating consumer protections for college athletes and their families as they navigate the name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals, which allow athletes to profit off of their role as an athlete. 

“Did he say we’re going to ask the politicians to help us? See, that pisses me off already. Our politicians are awful people,” Barkley said in response to Baker’s comments during coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament. “We can’t ask these politicians nothing. Those people are awful people. Democrats and Republicans — they’re all crooks.”

Baker, who formerly served as the Republican governor of Massachusetts, said that he wants to “create transparency and accountability” around NIL “so that families actually know what they are getting into.”

To do this, he said the NCAA would be talking “with the folks in Washington,” saying that federally enforced guidelines would be a good way to ensure compliance in all 50 states, a task he said could be difficult without the federal government’s help.

Barkley, a member of the NBA Hall of Fame, was not impressed, offering a different plan to regulate NIL deals. “I would actually go to people who actually care about basketball … I would put a committee together. I would love for Clark [Kellog] to be on the committee. Get some coaches, get some players, and let’s try to work this thing out,” he said. 

Barkley, long known for his frank speech, is a host for TNT’s popular “Inside the NBA,” a show he once said he would be leaving because of his frustration with cancel culture. 

“It’s gotten so out of hand right now, I couldn’t imagine having to watch myself. You can’t even have fun nowadays without these jackasses trying to get you canceled and things like that,” he said in June 2021. 


“All we ever talk about behind the scenes now is, ‘Yo man, be careful going in this direction.’ We can’t even have fun anymore,” Barkley added. “A lot of our bosses are cowards.”

Despite those comments, Barkley signed a major contract extension with TNT in October 2022.

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