Charles Barkley's joke about Alabama-Auburn football rivalry 'certainly an interesting choice'

Charles Barkley's joke about the Alabama-Auburn football rivalry was "certainly an interesting choice," says one analyst.
2023 NBA Finals - Game One
2023 NBA Finals - Game One / Jamie Schwaberow/GettyImages

Because ESPN plays host to the College Football Playoff, Charles Barkley's appearance in the broadcast booth during the Auburn basketball program's December 17 91-75 win over USC just had to include talk about it. And when asked about the Alabama-Auburn football rivalry, Charles Barkley made an eyebrow-raising comment about cheering for anyone -- including Afghanistan -- over Alabama.

Awful Announcing's Sam Neumann called evoking the middle eastern nation "certainly an interesting choice."

"Beyond the laughs and barbs, Barkley’s point raises a valid question about fairness in college football when injuries strike," Neumann prefaced before saying, "It certainly seems like if it were up to him, Florida State wouldn’t have been left out in favor of Alabama, and that’s coming from his actual viewpoint rather than Aurbun fan’s bias against the Crimson Tide.

"Though, invoking Afghanistan is certainly an interesting choice."

If you've ever been to an Auburn game, or an Alabama game, you'd hear fans say the same thing. It's a hyperbolic statement to stress the importance of the rivalry. And even 10 years ago, it likely wouldn't be a story at all.

What Charles Barkley said about Alabama-Auburn football rivalry

Here is the transcript of what Chuck said courtesy of On3.

“Here’s my problem with the whole thing as a player: they penalize because they lost their starters,” Barkley said. “I said, ‘Well, wait a minute, you showed total disrespect to the backups.’ That was my whole problem. Hey, you know how much I love Coach Saban and Alabama. I mean, I wouldn’t say I like Alabama. I like Coach Saban. Winning with backups should have gave you brownie points, not penalize you.

“If we’re gonna play sports now where it only matters if you’re using your starters, I don’t want to be in that world. They won three games with a backup and another backup. I’m really looking forward to the playoffs now that I went on my rant. I have zero idea who’s going to win those two games because we got four elite teams, and I’m gonna be watching. I can’t root for Alabama under any circumstances. I love Coach Saban. He’s been great to me. But I can never root for Alabama. Under any circumstances. I told you if they played Afghanistan, I’d be pulling for Afghanistan.”

Before anyone calls for Barkley to be punished, or worse and more laughably, removed from anything, do yourself a favor and Google search all of the humanitarian efforts he has donated literal millions of dollars to.

And maybe instead of trying to take things away from the world, you can give towards the same causes too.