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‘You Can’t Just Keep Recycling White Coaches’: Charles Barkley Puts NBA on Blast for Failing to Give Black Coaches a Chance

Charles Barkley isn’t letting up on calling out the presence of racial discrimination within the sports world.

The 58-year-old former NBA MVP, who previously commented on the discrepancies in reporting of how Black coaches are released from their teams versus their white counterparts, is continuing to use his analyst gig on “Inside the NBA” as a platform to highlight the inequalities that still exist in an industry largely driven by Black players.

Retired NBA player Charles Barkley attends the 2016 Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame 26th Anniversary Gala at The Waldorf Astoria on October 18, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)

In his opinion, that disparity has only been made more apparent now that three of the seven Black coaches in the league have teams in the conference finals of the NBA playoffs.

“Only seven Black coaches in the NBA out of 30 teams,” pointed out show co-host Ernie Johnson. “Three of them are in the conference finals,” he said speaking of Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue, Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams, and Atlanta Hawks interim head coach Nate McMillan.

“We need more Black coaches, we need more Black front office people. To have a league that’s really pretty much 80 percent Black and only have seven out of…30 [head coaches]…” Barkley said during the Sunday, June 20, episode of the sports talk show.

Barkley didn’t limit his criticism to the NBA, however, and took the opportunity to call out the NFL and college football for contributing to the racial glass ceiling in sports. “It’s a bigger problem in the NFL and in college football. Those two, they’re worse. We’re bad in the NBA, but three in the NFL. College football is probably the worst by far,” he said. “But it’s something we need to have a conversation about. Listen, give the guys an opportunity, and if they fail, fire them. You can’t just keep recycling white coaches. They get fired, they get new jobs. Give these guys a chance. These guys, they’re doing a fabulous job and it’s just something we need to talk about.”

Fellow NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal agreed with Barkley’s sentiments and added that women shouldn’t be left out of the diversification conversation. “Don’t forget women,” Shaq added. “I think it’s time for a woman or women to get the opportunity to be a head coach.”

Barkley previously addressed racial inequality within the NBA on the show, pointing out that “they fire brothers, they don’t part ways” when the show’s host began reporting the “mutual parting of ways in Portland and in Orlando.”

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