Charles Barkley Compares Civil Rights Concerns in US to Saudi Arabia

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Charles Barkley tells critics of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record to focus on civil rights concerns in the United States instead.

Monday, Barkley appeared on the Dan Patrick Show to respond to critics of the Saudi-backed LIV Golf, a league he’s considering joining.

Barkley told Patrick:

“Everybody picks and chooses. I just think it’s funny they’re more worried about civil rights in Saudi Arabia, a place 99.9 percent of people in the United States have never been and all of a sudden they’re worried about civil rights in Saudi Arabia. That kind of gives me a chuckle. I say you don’t worry about civil rights of people here in the United States.

“But all of a sudden when guys start taking money you’re like ‘I’m more worried about civil rights in Saudi Arabia.’ And that just makes me laugh. … Why don’t y’all worry about civil rights here in the United States, let’s worry about that, before we worry about what’s going on in Saudi Arabia?”

Here’s the segment:

Barkley is correct in that outrage is often selective, particularly in sports. The same sports media that’s shaming players for taking money from a Saudi-backed league are silent on NBA players earning profits from sneakers produced on the backs of Chinese slaves.

However, Barkley loses credibility when he mentions civil rights concerns in the US in the same breath as those in Saudi Arabia.

Whatever alleged civil rights violations exist in the US do not compare to a country that is actively increasing repression, including subjecting dissents to torture and prolonged arbitrary detention, and killed Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A recent Fox News poll found that 84 percent of Americans consider Saudi Arabia’s track record on human rights a growing concern.

Barkley should have just said he’s willing to overlook all of this for LIV money, instead of suggesting there’s a moral equivalence between the US and Saudi Arabia.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics..

Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.


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