Charles Barkley made a lot of ears go up when he said professional sports players should get preferential treatment regarding the coronavirus vaccine because they “pay more taxes.”
Barkley frequently blurts out controversial statements during his entertaining analysis for TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” It has propelled him to pop culture prominence and helped him win the Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Sports Personality three times.
But many people metaphorically slammed on the brakes when the NBA Hall of Famer made his latest pronouncement about pro players cutting the line to get their COVID-19 shots earlier.
“We need 300 million shots. Give a thousand to some NBA players, NFL players, hockey players,” Barkley said according to Yahoo!, adding that he knows such a statement will get him into trouble. “Listen, as much taxes as these players pay. Let me repeat that: As much taxes as these players pay, they deserve some preferential treatment.”
His “Inside the NBA” cohosts Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson vehemently disagreed and rebuked Barkley resoundingly for that line of thinking.
“For life and death?” Smith asked quizzically as his brow furrowed, earning a “yes” retort from Barkley.
“I said taxes. I didn’t say the amount of money you make,” Barkley added. “I said the amount of taxes these guys pay.”
Smith replied, “We can’t go there,” dismissing Barkley and closing the segment. “I don’t think you can go there.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, however, already said that the league would not cut in front of other high-risk demographics.
“There’s no way we’d ever jump the line in any form whatsoever,” Silver said before the season started in December 2020, according to Yahoo! Health. “And, for the most part, because our players are so young and healthy without some sort of comorbidity, they will not be a high priority for vaccinations.”
Flip the page to view Barkley’s comments on the matter.