It’s been a week since Charles Barkley’s DUI arrest, and with his current role at TNT under question, the controversial analyst has decided to take a leave of absence from the network. Via USA Today….
Charles Barkley, the popular Hall of Fame basketball star and Emmy Award-winning NBA television pundit with aspirations for political office, might find his career plans in jeopardy after TNT Network said he would take a leave of absence after a charge for drunken driving.
Police in Arizona said Friday that Barkley, 45, had a blood-alcohol level of .149 after his arrest in Scottsdale on New Year’s Eve. A level of .150 is a case of “extreme” inebriation, said police Lt. Eric Shuhandler. The state’s legal limit is .08.
“I have spoken with Charles Barkley regarding the incident. .. and I understand he has hired a lawyer to represent him regarding this matter,” said David Levy, president of TNT Sports, in a statement. “When I spoke with Charles, he was apologetic for the events that transpired and it was obvious he understands the significance of the situation. This is an important time for Charles as he deals with the legal and personal issues that confront him. Charles is a valued part of the Turner Sports organization and we are concerned for his well-being.”
All things considered, this is probably the best move for all parties involved. It’s obviously a tough decision for TNT whether to fire Barkley or not, but there are honestly only so many negative PR hits that you can take. Even if those hits come from a media darling like Charles, at some point they’re going to add up. As I’ve said before, it’s a shame that he can’t get his life in order, because he could be a very positive voice for the Country. An incident like this just knocks your credibility back down to zero, and unfortunately for him….he really is a role model.
Update: TMZ has the audio of the arrest now. In case you want to listen to 9 minutes of sobriety testing…click below….