Charles Barkley said "I use the N-word" and said the Clippers’ Matt Barnes shouldn’t have apologized for using it.
Barnes was fined $25,000 and criticized by coach Doc Rivers after using the word in a tweet following his ejection from Wednesday night’s game.
"I use the N-word … I’m going to continue to use the N-word with my black friends, with my white friends," Barkley this week on TNT.
Barkley also went on to say that even though Barnes should have not tweeted that publicly, the word was not used as a racial slur and Barnes should not have to apologize for using it.
Barkley said white people don’t have the right to criticize the way black people speak to each other and that they don’t have the right to use the N-word unless their black friends have given them a pass.
"White America doesn’t get to dictate how me and Shaq talk to each other. And they’ve been trying to infiltrate themselves saying ‘Well you guys use it, it’s in rap music’ — no, no, no, that’s not the same," Barkley said.
Barkley said he allows his white friends to use that word with him because it is not used with disrespect, but at the same time if his white friends say that around the wrong black people, they will "hear a clock upside (their) damn head."
Barkley made valid points about his freedom to say whatever he pleases with his friends, but it would make it easier on athletes if they just did not use that word at all. It might have saved Barnes some money.