Barkley Publicly Addresses His DUI Arrest, Will Return To Work Following The All-Star Break
Monday, February 09, 2009

It's rare that Charles Barkley doesn't have something to say, but following his December 31st arrest in Arizona, he decided to refrain from any comment on the matter. That was until this weekend, when the TNT analyst finally broke his silence at a celebrity Golf tournament of all places. Speaking to The Ledger (Lakeland, Florida), Barkley called the arrest a "mistake" and "100 percent" his fault, and even shared his thoughts on Michael Phelps....

"Clearly, I made a mistake drinking and driving. And I'm getting penalized for that, and rightfully so,'' Barkley said.

"Drinking and driving is a very serious thing. It was stupid, and it was 100 percent my fault,'' added Barkley, who said his return to the TV booth is up to TNT.

Barkley also offered an opinion on the ongoing situation with Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps.

Phelps, who won eight gold medals at Beijing, has been assailed for a photo of him smoking marijuana with a bong pipe at a student party while visiting the University of South Carolina.

"I don't think he's the worst person in the world. Everybody's a hypocrite right now,'' Barkley said. "He made a mistake. He said he was sorry.

"I guess they want us to take him out back and shoot him,'' Barkley said. "He made a mistake and I wish him nothing but the best.''
Obviously nothing has changed in regards to Barkley's current problems, but I seriously hope that when he comes back on-air that he isn't a different commentator. I think a Pre-DUI Barkley would have probably made a comparison to the reaction of a black athlete being busted for marijuana, and without Barkley providing that, you can see that not that many people have even acknowledged the double standard in this instance.

With that said, Sports Business Journal's John Ourand, has just released the news that Barkley will be returning to TNT following the All-Star break....

TNT plans to bring Charles Barkley back to its “Inside the NBA” studio show soon after Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, though the network has not picked a specific date.

The decision ends rumors that TNT would bring Barkley back for the coming weekend’s All-Star Game telecasts. Rather, Turner Sports President David Levy said he would make a decision “right after the All-Star Game.”

“He is going to continue to remain on a leave of absence through the All-Star Game. He will not be part of our All-Star Weekend festivities,” Levy said.

“It wasn’t a hard decision for me to give him some time off to get his legal matters straight and to get his personal life in order,” Levy said. “The question is, when is the right time to bring him back? There is no magic answer to that. It’s just a gut feel.”
I'll keep you posted on a date, and plans of Barkley's first on-air comments on the network.