Charles Barkley offers jarring take on DC politicians: ‘Democrats and Republicans – they’re all crooks’

NBA legend Charles Barkley slammed National Collegiate Athletic Association president Charlie Baker on Thursday for trying to involve politicians in the lives of athletes.

Of particular concern to Barkley was Baker’s interest in persuading members of Congress to create consumer protections for student athletes who are being compensated for their name, image, and likeness (NIL).

Baker expressed this desire during a CBS interview Thursday.

Listen below, and note that the clip also contains Barkley’s reaction:

He said he’s interested in “trying to create some what I would call consumer protections for families and student athletes around name, image, and likeness, which one of the A.D.s referred to as the only thing that’s true about it at this point is that everybody lies.”

In other words, he’s worried that the people paying for NIL are potentially exploiting  young, naïve, non-business-savvy college athletes.

“So I would love to create some transparency and accountability around that so the families actually know what they’re getting into. And I’d really like to see sort of uniform standard contract so that when somebody signs it, they know they’re signing the same kind of agreement everybody else is signing”  he added.

Asked how he might accomplish this, Baker suggested the association talk to politicians.

“We’re obviously going to talk some with the folks in Washington about this. And there’s a fair amount of appetite to try to deal with this. They’ve been hearing from a lot of the same people I’ve been hearing from,” he said.

“But I think it’s incumbent on the NCAA to also develop a program that we believe we could implement if the feds can’t actually put something together on their own. The only problem with it is if the feds do it, all 50 states comply. If we do it, we have to perhaps nudge some states’ collegiate programs into participating because they may have state laws that don’t require they play,” he added.

Barkley did NOT care for this idea.

(Source: Video screenshot)

Did he say we’re going to ask the politicians to help us? See, that pisses me off already. Our politicians are awful people,” he said.

Fact-check: TRUE.

“I would actually go to people who actually care about basketball and not just looking at it just from [inaudible.] I would put a committee together. … Get some coaches. Get some players, and let’s try to work this thing out. We can’t ask these politicians nothin’. Those people are awful people. Democrats and Republicans — they’re all crooks,” he added.

The now-viral remarks provoked mixed reactions. Some people (mainly Democrats) took exception to the claim that all politicians are awful. Others worried that a non-federal solution would cause too many problems. And finally, some supporters said Barkley’s idea own sounds terrific and makes the most sense.


This is all relatively new stuff because only within the past few years did the NCAA decide that student athletes can be compensated for their name, image, and likeness (NIL). The decision came after a pivotal Supreme Court ruling.

“The Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA had violated antitrust rules and should pay student-athletes for education-related benefits, though it did not rule on broader compensation questions, and in the decision said legislation may be needed to address remaining issues,” CNBC reported in June of 2021.

Following the stunning decision, the NCAA finally loosened its rules and started allowing college players to earn money for their work.


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Vivek Saxena


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