Charles Barkley continued his assault on stupidity at Auburn with a Sunday morning appearance on the NFL Network. In several interviews, Barkley has said race played a factor in the Chizik hire, but on the NFL Network he said the issue wasnâ€™t really a racial issueâ€“Auburn made a wrong choice.
â€œIt is really not about race,â€ Barkley said. â€œThey interviewed some great white candidates who had better resumes than Gene Chizik. If they had hired one of those guys I wouldnâ€™t be complaining.â€
Barkley said Auburnâ€™s hiring of Gene Chizik was wrong because Chizik was not the best candidate for the job.
â€œNothing personal against Gene Chizik, but he is 5-19 and is on a 10 game losing streak,â€ Barkley said. Those facts made Chizikâ€™s qualifications not as good as several black coaches who should have been considered for the job, according to Barkley. Some of those more qualified black coaches included Buffaloâ€™s Turner Gill, Georgia assistant Rodney Garner and Florida assistant Charlie Strong, Barkley said.
And Auburnâ€™s failure to hire a black head coach highlights a national problem.
The Auburn legend said the lack of black head coaches in college is a problem that needs action across the country. Barkley urged the NCAA to examine the problem; however, he stopped short of advocating an NFL type rule to encourage college presidents to interview black candidates. Auburn interviewed two black candidates Barkley believed should have gotten the job instead of Chizik. But he wants something done to correct the inequities faced by black coaches.
Barkley’s comments regarding Chizik could be the result of his experience with Auburn’s basketball search. He served on the search committee and advocated hiring three successful coaches who happened to be black. Barkley was sacked from the committee, and Auburn ended up hiring Jeff Lebo.
Barkley told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, “Out of all the basketball coaches they interviewed, they picked the only one who hadn’t been to the NCAA tournament.”
Lebo hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. Does that serve as a prelude to a disaster in the football program? It seems Barkley could be worried that Auburn doesn’t learn from its mistakes.
His appearances on ESPN, the NFL Network, local talk radio and other outlets has put Auburn, racism and college football into the national conversation.