After dining with LIV CEO Greg Norman on Wednesday, Charles Barclay looked like a man ready to join the Saudi-backed tour as a broadcaster.
In an extensive interview with The Post, Barkley said he believes there is “selective anger” in critics who go after LIV Golf and feels it would be hypocritical not to consider being part of the new tour if the money is right.
As further proof that he’s serious about LIV, he’ll play in the Pro-Am portion of next week’s LIV event at Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey.
After dining with Norman at Italian restaurant Pricci in Atlanta, Barclay then expects the Australian golfer to pitch for him to be on hold. Barkley, one of the 50 greatest NBA players of all time, spearheaded TNT’s “Inside the NBA” as it became an iconic sports studio show.
According to sources, Barkley is under contract with Turner for another three years and a sum of $30 million.
“In an ideal scenario, I would do both things,” Barclay told the newspaper. “I don’t know how the Turner sponsors will feel about it. I know there will be some setbacks.”
Barkley said he spoke with Norman about the Saudi-led group behind LIV Golf. The Saudi government has been accused of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as other human rights abuses.
“I told [Norman]Barclay said. “Listen, they make up words like ‘blood money’ and ‘sports wash.’ I said, ‘We’ve all taken ‘blood money’ and we all have a ‘sports wash’ thing so I don’t like those words, to be honest with you.
“If you play a professional sport, you’re taking kind of money from a not-so-great cause.”
When asked if the NBA’s relationship with China was an example he was referring to, Barkley replied, “Yes, I don’t want to practice selective rage.”
As a follow-up, Barclay was asked if it would be different if you were to receive a check from the Saudi government.
“Now, those are semantics,” Barkley said. “I’m a Nike guy too, so I’m not going to do that thing where I pick and choose what I get mad at, where my money comes from. I just don’t think that’s fair. I think that makes you a hypocrite.
“And to be fair, all of these golf rounds were played in Saudi Arabia and China. That was my view.”
However, the way everything is done is not just down to Barkley. He has endorsement deals with Capital One, Subway and Dick’s Sporting Goods. When stories emerged that Barkley was meeting with LIV Golf, his sponsors called him.
“They checked in with me,” Barclay said. “What I said to Subway and Capital One and Dick’s Sporting Goods, I said to him, ‘Wait a minute. I didn’t sign anything. I haven’t met the guy. Let’s let this thing happen before you all call me upset.'”
“Between the number you just mentioned [$10 million per year] And all my commercials, for me to risk it all, there has to be some serious money coming my way.”
LIV has added famous golfers such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, while it has hired Arlo White on YouTube broadcasts and, as The Post reported earlier this week, David Feherty. Both were previously on NBC Sports. The PGA Tour has ruled that LIV players cannot participate in their events.
LIV continues to forge ahead with the Saudis’ seemingly endless money, telling Norman Barclay that a TV deal is expected.
“I think he thinks they’re going to get a TV deal,” Barkley said. “I’m sure they’ll get a TV deal, too. Someone’s going to step forward at some point.”
“I think it’s kind of a variety of different things, to be honest with you. I don’t think it’s one thing in particular, but I think the main thing is to use my character”
Prior to meeting Norman, Barclay consulted with Michael Welbone, Mark Cuban, Ahmed Rashad, Bryant and Greg Gumble.
“These are the guys who have guided me throughout my career,” Barclay said. “I got all their opinions about it, and they didn’t see any problem with me taking this meeting – and I’m glad they did.”