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Charles Barkley said he still hasn’t received an offer to join the LIV Golf Invitational Series as an analyst, but he’s not going to keep TNT waiting much longer.
The NBA Hall of Famer and analyst, who played in the pro-am event before the LIV Golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey, said it’s unfair to the network and his other sponsors to keep stringing them along.
"I can't keep TNT in limbo. That's not fair," Barkley told ESPN.
"Not only are they [TNT] concerned, my sponsors are concerned. I've heard from Subway, Capital One, Dick's Sporting Goods. At some point I'm going to have to make a decision, plain and simple."
Barkley has been rumored to be joining the controversial Saudi Arabian-backed golf league as an analyst. He has been open about doing so, and even said that the league would have to triple his salary in order for him to make the jump over. That would mean getting paid about $60 million a year.
He also gave LIV Golf a Thursday deadline to get it done, but it’s unclear if he’ll hold to that. It’s also unknown how his current sponsors will react in the long run to him considering joining LIV Golf.
LIV Golf doesn’t have a television deal and its tournaments are currently streamed on YouTube, Facebook and its website. It recently picked up David Feherty from NBC.
Barkley says he isn’t pressed about the situation.
"They haven't offered me a contract. They asked me if I was interested and I said yes," Barkley said, via ESPN. "I met with [LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman] and I told him yes.
“I'm in a win-win situation. If they offer me something good, that's great. If they don't, I've got a great job at TNT.”
As for the criticism that surrounds joining LIV Golf, Barkley said once again that he’s aware of what would come his way. He also said that he has “sympathy for the 9/11 families,” an issue that is front and center this week as the course sits less than 50 miles from the World Trade Center in New York. The Saudi Arabian connection has brought protests and outcry from plenty, including families and victims of the terrorist attacks.
Still, Barkley doesn’t think it’s fair to be so upset about the new venture.
"Everybody's making up words, like, sportswashing and dirty money. I'm like, listen, if you play sports, we all take money from some sources you might not love or appreciate," Barkley said Thursday, via ESPN. "I don't want to be a hypocrite. [LIV golfers] are trying to make a living. I wish them nothing but the best. Same thing with my friends on the PGA Tour. But everybody is just kinda like trying to play the moral card.
"For some reason, everyone wants to place selective outrage. I’m never going to let that happen on my watch.”