Charles Barkley's SI interview with Richard Deitsch continues to make headlines. Earlier this week, Deitsch led his media column a note that Barkley was considering leaving TNT before the end of his current contract to move on to a new challenge. In a full interview published Wednesday, the always outspoken Barkley had a very brunt critique of the business and sideline reporting in particular.
Notably, Barkley speaks of discriminataion in sideline reporting and says "If you are an ugly woman, you have no chance of getting a TV job." Here's the full exchange...
SI.com: How do you view sideline reporters on a broadcast?
Barkley: I don't like sideline reporters at halftime because you're asking coaches questions, and they are pissed off most of the time. Anything can happen when you are mad like that, especially if your team is getting its butt kicked. It's always easy to interview the guy who is winning, but if you are getting your butt kicked, it's a very awkward situation. You haven't even had a chance to digest what you've been bad at, and they are asking what you have been bad at!
SI.com: That's why I love interviews with Gregg Popovich. He's great television when he makes reporters uncomfortable.
Barkley: Oh, he's great. But I will tell you one form of discrimination no one ever talks about regarding sideline reporters.
SI.com: What's that?
Barkley: If you are an ugly woman, you have no chance of getting a TV job.
SI.com: But if you dress like Craig Sager, you can still get hired, right?
Barkley: Hey, I think you have to dress like Sager to get a job now. I will say this: They have hot, great-looking women on TV now. But if you are an ugly woman, you ain't got no chance of getting a TV job.
While there might be a certain gravitas and sensitivity missing from Barkley's responses, he's right on the money as usual. There's a complete and total double standard in sports broadcasting. Men are solely judged on their competence on the job. Women are judged by their abilities and their attractiveness.
Aside from making fun of Craig Sager's wardrobe, or wondering about John Clayton's ponytail, when was the last time you heard anyone talk about a man's looks when he's filing a report? There's no message board chatter about Dan Patrick's hair or questions about whether or not Kirk Herbstreit had some work done. There's no tweets about whether or not Chris Berman has put on a couple pounds. There's no reaction to how Brent Musburger or Dick Stockton or Hubie Brown have aged physically.
But the same, of course, isn't true about women in the business. An average looking man doesn't face the uphill playing field an average looking woman would. Furthermore, women are probably judged by fans moreso for their looks than their abilities. This is no secret. Just take a look at some of these Yahoo search results. I took three prominent females and three prominent males to see what search terms came up after their names. The results shouldn't surprise you.
Will it ever change? Hopefully some day. Hopefully some day the male-dominated industry and sports fandom isn't as totally shallow as it is now and everyone is given a fair shot based on their talent. But it's certainly a present reality, and Barkley is one of the few men on the inside to bring it to light.
Obviously Barkley's right to an extent, but it's kind of overstated. Let me know when Ryan Seacrest or Nick Cannon get replaced with an ugly fat guy. Plenty of male eye candy in programs predominantly viewed by females. And while your Erin Andrews, Michelle Tafoya, etc. are easy on the eyes, these are women who have paid their dues and have legitimate track records working in media. Not like they're pulling supermodels out of their photo shoots and sticking them on the field/court.
One only has to look at Pam Oliver to realize Charles Barkley is full of it. I mean, there is no way any man would look at her and think...oh no, tell me it ain't so, Charles. You are not hitting that, are you?
Charles Barkley is a breath of fresh air in a business with people who have "on air" personalities. Charles is Charles. If he thinks it he speaks it. The truth isn't always pretty but that doesn't make it any less true. What Barkley pointed out is something we all know to be true. Unattractive women don't make it in his business. It's not fair but it is what it is.
The real point is Barkley speaks the truth BUT he does it in a way to be judged by the discrimination police when its not that at all .It is just business.If you don't like the business ...then what you really don't like is the human condition.And thats OK ....but
its easy to throw rocks when you have no log in the fire or money in the game! Again he's ignorant by mixing ideology or stating the obvious. Pretty girls are nicer to look at than ...well "ugly girls"...I would agree.....but discrimination ...please political correctness at it's best.Ask yourself do I want to see a 300 lbs girl with acne in a porno or well you get the picture ...........deny the human condition is denying nature or a business to soon be out of ....business.
Don't compare apples to oranges!
People ...you sell two candy bars or ten for that matter.The one with peanut butter sells clearly MORE than any other candy bar.ERGO you drop the other and sell what THE PEOPLE WANT.Your not promoting peanuts ...you just want to sell more candy bars. .It's business not SOCIAL EQUALITY.
ive gotten a bunch of emails, some with clever whitty replies, and some with some real idiotic remarks. Barkley is refering to the biase of unnattractive women not getting job simply because they arent attractive, even if they are good at what they do or not. he isnt being insulting. sorry to say, if you either didnt read the entire article or couldnt decifer it, you shouldnt be here. this is for the clever and whitty. notice,he makes the comment about ugly women after he says theres one form of discrimination that goes unnoticed. now stop spamming my emails with your stupid comments
There are a lot of you here who are attacking Charles Barkley for his remark. Have you really read all he had to say? I don't think so, or maybe you you don't understand correctly what you read, but in any case, he was making a case FOR women who are less attractive being hired in the sports industry as commentators or whatever. He was simply pointing out the negative BIAS AGAINST such women, not trying to insult them. I'm obviously a woman, and I heard him as being on ALL women's side, attractive or not, thin or not, etc. He put it out there in a very straightforward manner, so as to avoid any misinterpretation of his remarks, but unfortunately, the less attentive still misunderstood. How frustrating that much be for Charles. I'm behind you, guy! Thanks for speaking out for us women.
@BarbFuller it may not be fair but nothing in life is. I would bet if there were only 2 channels to watch on tv and one had better looking women than the other Charles would watch the good looking women. It is just natural. Things or people of beauty are what people want to see. Which would you wrather see, the rain or the rainbow. Would you wrather see dry brown flatland or green rolling hills. It is only normal to want to see things of beauty.
TruthBeTold24, get over it, your man lost big time. Now, to woman broadcasters, Charles is absolutely right as usual. Not pretty, not gonna happen. And that is a shame and of course not fair. Besides, what coach really wants to talk at half-time, I would imagine none. So they should just do away with on the floor half time interviews!!
@merry1 i think the "attractive women only" stigma goes hand in hand with half time interviews. the media is all about exploitation, nd pretty things. not about informing viewers or educating them. just whatever you can do to get a quick rating. plus, the nba throws its stars in your face to remind you,you should watch.
If you ever doubt that many of the coaches hate the half-time banalities they are forced to partake in, just watch the Spurs' coach, 'Pop' Popovich during an interview sometime. Occasionally, his true feelings really, really show and he gets just a wee bit short of insulting to the interviewer. You can always see him struggling to be civil. Most of us fans here don't blame him at all, as these 'do nothing' interviews add absolutely nothing to the game nor entertainment.
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@FranciscoVilla Did you say he was wrong then agree with him? Did you disagree with Barkley because it was Charles Barkley or because Barkley is black? Barkley said ugly women have no shot at getting on TV in sports. You simply explained why you prefer it to stay that way.
I love Barkley for always really telling it like it really is. He does not pretend,he speaks his heart.
He knows that women reporters are there for eye cany for the amourous male viewer. Why would a pro football player care for what a woman thinks of football,PLEASE. Every true fan knows but cannot say,they are another sideline decoration like the Dancers,cheerleaders, pom pom girls or majorettes on the sidelines. Why Americans can't say what is so obvious has always confused me.
I could be because American society doesn't like unvarnishes truth. Same reason that we call law-breaking illegal aliens "undocumented workers," and terrorists "oppositional combatants" or whatever similar name Obama gave them and insisted government call them when he first took office. It's called "political correctness," even if it has nothing to do with politics. I think it may have all started with with 'mentally challenged' versus the 'R' word. See, I can't even say it now, since it was changed so long ago (and in this case, rightfully so). Regarding Barkley's straightforward characterization of the women who are being discriminated against, I think he just calledf it exactly as it is. I'm a woman, and I don't object.
@hsparock 2 very intelligent and philosophical comments. first, "what americans cant say always confuses me". then barbs post really made some good points. notice, a mentally challenged person can initially be happy, but when one utters the "R" word, there whole disposition changes. they are instantly reminded of how painful it is to be "retard3d". as if they find joy from ignoring there painful reality of being different. i think thats the general problem in the... world! too much worship of certain famous people who acheive things or look a certain way. to many sleasy companies who promote this line of thinking simply for profit. too many not acknowledging themselves and tryna look or be like others. as if imperfection isnt the most beautiful thing in the world
Why would it ever change? Maybe it would change if more women started to watch sports than men, but not likely to happen. However, is it more complicated? E! is geared toward women and do you think the Kardashians would be as popular if they were obese and less than everyone's standard definition of attractive? Women are not paragons of objectivity.
Barkley has got a lot of room to talk about someone being ugly.The ONLY reason he is on t.v. at all is because he was a soso basket ball player.Get a life Barkley,cause you sho nuff ain't purty.
@gravy train that is exactly the point he is making , he can be on tv being ugly, he knows he ain't pretty that is the point.
i dont think he was trying to be insulting. he was stating a fact. you just took it that way. kinda immature, but hey we all make mistakes.
@gravy train Reading is much more than being able to recognize words. Please try understand what Charles is saying.
@gravy train Soso basketball player? Name anybody else under 6'6" who dominated the glass like Barkley did. That's right, you can't. He was an absolute physical freak of nature...and he has a knack for brutal honesty. He's dead on here as well.
i think brutal honesty is a blessing. helps us all see reality for what it really is, and for someone like charles, life has constantly reminded him that things can be brutal when he was young. good to see money and fame havent changed him. i think he matured without conforming, stayed himself but only matured.
@gravy train that was the point he was making, u r so dumb
Thank you Sir Charles. I can always depend on you to be straight up and truthful, no matter how it sounds. You always keep it real. There's no being politically correct with you. You just speak the truth like it is. Man, I still wish that you had played some years with my beloved Lakers. You'd have a few championships on your fingers. Love you Charles.
Joe Blake of Syracuse, NY