The Sidelines : Barkley Rues Wife-Beating Gag

Charles Barkley, star forward of the Philadelphia 76ers, has apologized for a postgame quip that women’s groups claimed made sport of wife-beating, a club official said today.

Barkley, who said the remarks were meant as a joke, was quoted as saying after a tough Nov. 3 win over the underdog New Jersey Nets that “this is a game that if you lose, you go home and beat your wife and kids. Did you see my wife jumping up and down at the end of the game? That’s because she knew I wasn’t going to beat her.”

Asked by a reporter at the time if he wanted to reconsider the statement, Barkley replied, “Nah, print it.”

The comment, reported nationally, aroused the ire of battered women’s groups in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, prompting the apology.