Charles Barkley has never been one to shy away from controversial statements, both as a player and as an NBA analyst for TNT. His latest pot-stirring sound bite concerns his alma mater, Auburn.
In a recent phone interview with the Columbus (GA) NBC affiliate, Barkley – a three-time All-SEC performer for the Tigers’ men’s basketball team in the 1980s – said that Auburn should hire Bobby Petrino to replace Gene Chizik as the school’s football coach.
“I understand he has some baggage but he’s a hell of a coach, and we shouldn’t try to play judge and jury and moral judge,” Barkley said. “He made a mistake, he admitted to his mistake, we have to hire a guy who we know can win, and that’s him.”
Sir Charles isn’t the first member of the Auburn community to voice this sentiment, but he is the most high-profile. While Petrino looks like the best candidate available, Barkley also wanted Turner Gill hired in 2008 before Gill’s time at Kansas ended in disaster.