The hate and threats Charles Barkley slings toward Skip Bayless reaches levels far beyond a good-natured media feud.
On the most recent episode of The Skip Bayless Show, the 70-year-old Fox Sports host spent most of the hour-long podcast addressing his long-running battle with Barkley. Bayless is not one to shy away from name-calling, but Barkley’s banter with the Fox Sports host often bypasses personal insults and reaches threats of physical harm.
According to Bayless, his wife Ernestine Sclafani fears for his safety and even loses sleep at night because of Barkley’s threats.
“My wife Ernestine has believed for 15 years, that Charles Barkley is nothing but a sick individual,” Bayless said. “To her, he is just pure evil, that he is depraved, that he is a scumbag and she fears that one day, Charles will somehow…inspire some other nut to end my life. And this haunts her, this hurts her, because she believes that in the end, Charles Barkley would have my blood on his hands.”
“If that were Charles’s goal from the start, if that was his goal, then I congratulate him,” Bayless continued. “Because he wins on this one. He has hurt my wife deeply.”
It’s difficult to imagine there are many basketball fans who heard Barkley’s threats over the last couple of decades and believed the basketball Hall-of-Famer actually wants Bayless dead. But if Bayless is going to get criticized for calling Russell Westbrook “Westbrick,” then Barkley should be condemned for threatening murder.
Bayless claims that he attempted to get Barkley to cut down on the physical threats, specifically the term “kill” and it didn’t work.
“I said look, I don’t care about any of the other criticism,” Bayless recalled. “He can rip, he can slash, he can say whatever he wants. Just for Ernestine’s sake could he please stop using the k-word, please no more kill.”
While there are no statistics to prove it, Bayless believes Barkley’s threats of physical harm have only gotten worse since the request. Last year, Barkley blasted Bayless on TNT, claiming he’ll put the Fox Sports host in a “body cast” if they get in a room together. The threat continued their mostly one-sided feud which dates back to at least 2005 when Barkley told The Washington Post he’d like to “kill” Bayless.
Bayless said he’s ready to have an athletic competition with Barkley, suggesting a race or a round of golf. He even gave Barkley an open invite to join one of his Fox Sports shows and he seems equally willing to accept an offer to go on TNT’s Inside the NBA.
“You can tell me exactly why you want or even need to kill me,” Bayless said. “You take all the time in the world that you need to make your cases against me to clarify, to explain all of your issues, all of your problems with me.”
While the meeting between Barkley and Bayless seems unlikely to ever happen, it would certainly be great television and hopefully, a cordial discussion between the two can help Ernestine get a better night’s sleep.