On Friday’s episode of TNT’s “The Arena,” Charles Barkley expressed doubts about basketball fans putting up with the never-ending Black Lives Matter focus.
“They could get turned off. They could get turned off. Because people watch sports for sports. Listen, there’s a direct correlation. You go back to what was going on with Colin Kaepernick. The fans were not happy with that. And now, with such a condensed season, with the guys being on really really every day for three months. And for the public, that, like they are going to hear the stuff every single day for three months. You have to stay, I want to know how they are going to react. I really do. And for people who say the fans really are going to be all aboard for everything, I’m a wait and see.”
Barkley replied that things are different now because of the pandemic and because some people will not get their jobs back. “You have to factor that in. Like I say, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer, but you have to think at some point, ‘Say, man, I’m not sure I want to watch basketball every day if this is all the guys are going to talk about. I think it’s a fair question.’ “
Champion asked if the constant conversation theme is too heavy and fans want an escape? “Is it more of that stick to sports mentality?”
“No, it’s not stick to sports,” Barkley shot back. “I don’t think that we should ever just stick to sports. But I’m saying with the pandemic, it changes the world forever. Forever. And these people, I think, they are like, ‘can I get a break one day?’ And I say, it’s going to be fascinating watching. Like, first of all, I hope they watch. Because we are going to be on. But, I do think it’s going to be interesting the way this plays out. You know, this notion that just because these guys are back, everyone is going to run back to the basketball court and then if these guys are going to talk about heavy stuff, every single day, I think there could be a backlash. I really do.”
Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green said he thinks everyone will continue watching because it feels like America is shifting to support for everyone who is “doing right.” Thus there will be no negative fan impact on the game.