Apology was vintage Barkley
Charles Barkley didn’t blame a wife or a cousin or the family dog for putting some unknown substance into his glass or forcing him to get behind the wheel of some unidentifiable vehicle after having a drink.
Barkley came back to the TNT “Inside The NBA” show Thursday night for the first time in nearly two months and he was mostly just Charles, maybe biting his lip a little but also accepting blame for his arrest in December for driving under the influence.
“Let me start by saying something,” Barkley said as TNT came on the air before the San Antonio at Detroit game.
“Clearly everybody knows I got a DUI. That’s unacceptable, 100% my fault,” he said. " . . . I screwed up, I made a mistake, I’m sorry, I apologize.”
There it was, nothing awkward and also a little bit in your face, just as Barkley usually conducts his business, good or bad.
“Never get behind the wheel when I’ve been drinking,” Barkley said to anchor Ernie Johnson who asked what lessons Barkley may have learned from his DUI episode in December that caused Barkley to be arrested.
“First of all, every person who’s drunk thinks it’s OK to drive . . . but, seriously, if you have a drink, seriously think about it. If I’ve had a glass of wine or a beer, that’s different. But if I had something to drink, I’ll seriously think and not get behind the wheel.”
There was the Everyman in Barkley. No one will take his advice if he says everyone who has a glass of wine or a beer shouldn’t drive. Maybe not the most well-considered words from someone whose drunk-driving arrest has been so notable, but Barkley-honest.
He also thanked TNT management, kind of. “As far as the bigwigs at TNT, I never trusted them 110%,” Barkley said. “I’ve been here eight years and we don’t spend a lot of time together . . . but I want to tell them it meant a great deal for them to stick by me through my screw-up.”
Barkley had already done an interview with Johnson, posted on NBA.com, and said his legal case was still in the system, that it was possible he might face jail time and most certainly would have to undergo some sort of alcohol counseling. Johnson asked Barkley if that was necessary.
“Well,” Barkley said, “I think it’s going to be good for me, to be honest. I need to make sure drinking is not a problem for me. I just want some professionals to talk to me about it.”
That was it. Back to basketball and to a better show. Barkley is what makes the show pop. And if Barkley’s lessons aren’t well-learned, as he said, the world will know. Those camera phones are everywhere.
Play NFL GM
Beginning Saturday at 8 a.m. and continuing live through Tuesday the NFL Network is televising live workouts from the NFL combine in Indianapolis. Rich Eisen is the host and this is your chance to see if USC Coach Pete Carroll was right in criticizing quarterback Mark Sanchez for leaving the Trojans early.
Fans can also check out NFL.com and see varying angles of players doing the 40-yard dash and position drills and then compare your opinions to those of recently fired Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, who will be doing analysis.
Good to watch today
The weather forecast is rain-free, the scenery will be fantastic and Versus offers the chance to see Lance Armstrong ride the first time trial of his cycling comeback in Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California. The coverage begins at 1 p.m. but the leaders won’t be racing until after 2 p.m.
And if you’re playing hooky from work to watch cycling, there’s a good hockey game at 4:30 p.m. on Prime Ticket, Ducks at Detroit.
Good to watch Saturday
Maybe it’s a little early to be thinking London 2012 gymnastics, but that’s not how USA Gymnastics women’s coordinator Martha Karolyi thinks. The Tyson’s American Cup is on Universal Sports at 11:30 a.m. and on Channel 4 at 1 p.m. and two potential anchors of the next four years, Bridget Sloan and U.S. junior champion Jordyn Wieber, will be on display.
Good to watch Sunday
Compare how NASCAR drivers ride the wheel, draft and pass and how cyclists do it. At 2 p.m. on Channel 11 will be the Auto Club 500 at Fontana and at the same time on Versus will be the final stage of the Tour of California from Rancho Bernardo to Escondido. No predictions on the Fontana winner but don’t be surprised to see Armstrong power out a stage win in Escondido.
Jim Nantz, who was named 2008 National Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Assn. on Friday, will anchor Channel 2’s coverage of the PGA Northern Trust Open at Riviera on Sunday at noon.