Sports commentator and political gadfly Charles Barkley is going to be launching his own contribution to the deteriorating state of race relations in America. Sir Charles has never been one to shy away from controversy from his days as a perennial NBA All-Star to his broadcasting career on TNT, he has always as been quick with his tongue as he was on the hardwood. Now Mr. Barkley is joining the gold rush to cash in on racial grievance with his new television series innocuously named “The Race Card”.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer “Charles Barkley’s new TNT show to tackle race in America”:
Inside the NBA analyst and former Sixers star Charles Barkley has a new gig that’s likely to take him further than usual from sports.
On Sunday, during a meeting with reporters at the Television Critics Association’s summer meetings in Beverly Hills, Calif., TNT announced it had greenlighted a series — working title The Race Card — that “will follow Barkley as he goes on a personal journey to explore and understand why our country is so divided right now.”
It’s expected to premiere early in 2017.
I really love his ambition,” said TBS/TNT president Kevin Reilly told me during a Turner Entertainment party in Los Angeles Sunday night. “First of all, Charles is one of the few guys who is not afraid to get in the middle of the very thorny, and unfortunately, all-too-real and complex issue of race relations…and just tension in our society in general. And to take a provocative position that’s usually not necessarily predictable.
TNT’s official word on the upcoming series is as follows:
TNT Greenlights The Race Card
NBA legend and Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley has had enough. The America that he knew has lost its way, becoming mired in partisan politics, social divides and entrenched corporate interests. Now he hopes to get to the root of the problem in the new limited-run series The Race Card. TNT has ordered six hour-long episodes of the show, with plans to launch in early 2017.
In The Race Card, Charles Barkley wants to bust up the echo chamber mentality that so often has people retreating to corners of the like-minded, where views are reinforced and ideas are distorted into angry, unexamined groupthink conclusions. Each week, Barkley will take on the rapidly calcifying positions around today’s hot-button topics. He will seek out the sharpest and most varied viewpoints from today’s cultural leaders and tastemakers. He will then challenge and probe those ideas, even trying them out on himself.
No idea presented on The Race Card will be left in the abstract. Barkley will put ideas on their feet, with real-world proof-of-concept tests that will engage people and expose the truth behind their closely held beliefs. In the end, Barkley will reach his own conclusions guided only by his own wits and common-sense wisdom.
“We as Americans never discuss the issue of race in this country and how it impacts everything in our lives until something bad happens,” Barkley said. “I see this project as a way to talk about race, class and cultural differences and challenge everyone’s status quo.”
While Barkley has at times been critical of the Black Lives Matter thugs it’s hard to see how something like this is a positive development in race relations but black sports icons are increasingly interjecting themselves into the political realm – none other than “His Airness” Michael Jordan did so last week.