In the wake of head coaches Steve Clifford and Terry Stotts parting ways with the Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers respectively, Charles Barkley said that only white coaches are allowed to “part ways” with their team, rather than being fired. Barkley discussed the different treatment of white and black coaches on TNT ahead of the second-round playoff matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks.
“Mutual parting of ways in Portland and in Orlando,” Ernie Johnson said. “Steve Clifford out with the Magic, Terry Stotts out with the Portland Trail Blazers…”
“America, that means they were white,” Barkley said. “They fire brothers, they don’t part ways.”
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Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Johnson laughed as they moved on, welcoming Chris Haynes to the show.
Barkley has spoken about racial disparities between black and white coaches before. In the wake of the Nets’ hiring Steve Nash, Barkley defended the hiring by disputing Stephen A. Smith who claimed it was an example of “white privilege.”
“Steve Nash is a great player and a good dude,” Barkley said at the time. “But I was so disappointed in some of these guys. I was like, ‘Dude, Black guys have done this before.’ Now, do we need more Black coaches in the NBA? Yes. Do we need more Black coaches in college football? Yes. Do we need more Black coaches in pro football? Yes. But this wasn’t the right time to say that today. Good luck to Steve Nash.”