Charles Barkley rips ‘crook’ politicians in fiery NIL rant: ‘Awful people’

Don’t expect to catch Charles Barkley breaking bread with politicians anytime soon.

The “Inside the NBA” personality went on a fiery rant about “awful” politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, during Thursday’s March Madness broadcast on CBS.

Barkley got upset when studio host Greg Gumbel mentioned the new NCAA president — and Governor of Massachusetts — Charlie Baker’s “consumer protections” plan, which is designed to regulate how student-athletes make their money under the new Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) rules.

“Did he say we’re going to ask the politicians to help us?” Barkley asked after shaking his head.

“See, that pisses me off already. Our politicians are awful people.”


Charles Barkley went on a rant about “awful” politicians and NIL during CBS’s March Madness broadcast on March 23, 2023.
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Barkley didn’t seem happy that Baker is discussing NIL with those outside the game of basketball.

“Obviously we’re gonna talk some with the folks in Washington about this,” Baker said about the NIL laws.

“And there’s a fair amount of appetite [from politicians] to try and deal with this.”

Barkley didn’t seem to agree.


Charles Barkley went on a rant about "awful" politicians and NIL during CBS's March Madness broadcast on March 23, 2023.
Charles Barkley went on a rant about “awful” politicians and NIL during CBS’s March Madness broadcast on March 23, 2023.
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The Basketball Hall of Famer said that he would prefer speaking to “people who actually care about basketball” about NIL discussions — explaining that he would put a committee together with coaches, players and others, including broadcast partner Clark Kellogg.

“We can’t ask these politicians nothing,” Barkley said. “Those people are awful people. Democrats and Republicans — they’re all crooks.”


(L) Greg Sankey the Commissioner of the SEC and Charlie Baker the President of the NCAA at the Florida Gators-Mississippi State Bulldogs game during the 2023 SEC Basketball Tournament at the Bridgestone Arena on March 9, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.
(L) Greg Sankey the Commissioner of the SEC and Charlie Baker the President of the NCAA at the Florida-Mississippi State game in the 2023 SEC Basketball Tournament.
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Some people sounded off about the viral clip, with on person writing on Twitter: “Charles Barkley spitting truth on NCAA rules.”

The NCAA rule change in 2021 enables student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness — with many athletes that double as social media influencers making six-and-seven figures.

Haley and Hanna Cavinder — who are college basketball players at the University of Miami and TikTok superstars — are two of the highest-paid college athletes, having earned an estimated seven figures in NIL deals.


Haley and Hanna Cavinder during the 2023 NCAA Women's Tournament.
Haley and Hanna Cavinder during the 2023 NCAA Women’s Tournament.
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The senior guards are the third-highest NIL earners in the 2023 NCAA Tournament (men’s and women’s).

LSU gymnast and social media influencer Olivia Dunne is also making seven figures — with the New Jersey native juggling partnerships with Vuori clothing, College GameDay, GrubHub and American Eagle. 

LeBron James’ son, Bronny James — who signed an NIL deal with Beats by Dre and appears in a commercial with the Lakers star — earned $7.5 million as of January, per On3’s NIL evaluations.

High school football phenom Arch Manning — the son of Cooper Manning and nephew of Peyton and Eli — placed second under James, with $3.7 million. 

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