LIV Golf is actively courting Charles Barkley, and the NBA Hall of Famer admits there will be some backlash if he joins the tour.
Barkley met with LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman on Wednesday about possibly being an announcer for their events. He has not yet signed any deal, but confirmed to the New York Post he will play in the pro-am at their next event, which will take place next week at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.
He also told the Post for him to join LIV, and not only leave his job as an NBA analyst for TNT but also step away from his endorsement deals with various sponsors, the offer would have to be highly lucrative.
"In a perfect scenario, I would love to do both (TNT and LIV)," Barkley told the Post on Thursday. "I don't know how Turner's sponsors are going to feel about it. I know there is going to be some blowback."
Barkley reportedly is signed to a three-year, $30million contract with TNT. LIV, however, could foreseeably offer significantly more, considering it is backed by $2billion in Saudi Arabian government funding, and has already offered sizeable paychecks to pry away Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka.
The new league has faced sharp criticism for Saudi Arabia’s stances on human rights as well as being tied to the murder of a Washington Post journalist, but Barkley scoffed at the notion that LIV golfers were taking “blood money.”
"I told (Norman), 'Listen, they are making up words, like blood money and sportswashing.'," he said. "We have all taken blood money, and we all have sportswashed something, so I don't like those words, to be honest with you.
"If you are in pro sports, you are taking some type of money from not a great cause."
Barkley is currently receiving money from several sponsors for being a spokesperson in their commercials and it’s uncertain if he would continue with those companies if he were to join LIV.
"They checked in with me," Barkley said. "What I told Subway, Capital One and Dick's Sporting Goods, I said, 'Wait a minute. I haven't signed anything. I haven't met with the guy. Let's let this thing play out before you all call me all upset'."