ESPN Host Responds Perfectly To Charles Barkley’s ‘Girly Basketball’ Criticism

The ESPN host was quick to set him straight.

Last week, outspoken “Inside the NBA” host Charles Barkley offered up yet another dose of controversy with his criticism that the Golden State Warriors are playing “little girly basketball” despite boasting the best record in the entire NBA.

It doesn’t require much analysis to see why levying “girly” as a criticism would offend many people, Warriors fans or not. People slammed his word choice, and Rachel Nichols, an ESPN host, was quick to set him straight.

Here’s video of his comments in a clip from Thursday night’s broadcast.

His exact words:

“Maybe I’m old school, but I’m never going to like that little girly basketball where you have to outscore people. I’m biased against girl basketball.”

From a logical standpoint, I’m not sure what kind of basketball Charles enjoys if it doesn’t entail outscoring the other team. Losing basketball? Regardless of the point he was trying to make, people are understandably upset that he would use “girly” as a substitute for “weak,” or any other pejorative descriptor he was using the word to convey.

The next day, ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, who is a friend and former broadcasting partner of Barkley, took to her show “The Jump” to respond to his comments.

Here’s the video of her statement:

Here’s a transcript of her remarks:

“Look, I worked with Charles for three years at TNT. We’ve been friends for a lot longer. I love that man like a big brother. I did text him last night, and I said, ‘Chuck, think about how it feels for girls watching you to hear you use girly or girls as a substitute word for weak or lame? It’s not OK.’ And his point back to me was that he was just having some fun, and, as he put it, quote ‘intent matters.’ And he is right. It does.

“But to borrow one of Chuck’s own favorite phrases, in my opinion, that is still not good enough of a reason to feel OK about using that expression. And this isn’t a P.C. (political correctness) police thing. I’m not offended in any way. This is just about girls out there who love watching Chuck talk about basketball as much as I do, who shouldn’t have to grow up feeling like they are the living, human stand-in definition of being less than or weak. And frankly, young boys shouldn’t be growing up thinking that about boys, either.”

Her point about this being about more than political correctness is well-received, and it’s not hard to draw a close parallel between Barkley’s use of “girly” and the (thankfully waning) use of “gay” as a general insult.

Judging by the powerful response on social media, it seems that most people, including former NBA star Tracy McGrady who also responds in the video, are siding with Nichols on this one.

While it’s somewhat beside the point, one Twitter user showed that Chuck was guilty of the same time of basketball during his time in Phoenix as a player:

Fire out that apology whenever you’re ready, Chuck.