ESPN’s Rachel Nichols took strong exception to Charles Barkley’s use of the word “girly,” when describing how the Golden State Warriors play basketball, opining that Barkley shouldn’t say things that make girls feel like the “stand-in definition of being less than or weak.”
Speaking Thursday Night on TNT’s Inside the NBA, Barkley went on a rant about how he has no interest in watching Golden State’s style of play in the league. Barkley said, “Maybe I’m old school, but I’m never gonna like that little girly basketball where you have to outscore people. I’m biased against girl basketball. I love [UCONN Women’s Coach] Geno Auriemma, one of my favorite coaches, I love women’s basketball, but I don’t want it in the NBA.”
On Friday, Nichols addressed Barkley’s remarks on her show The Jump:
Look, I worked with Charles for three years at TNT. We’ve been friends for a lot longer. I love that man like a big brother. I did text him last night, and I said, “Chuck, think about how it feels for girls watching you to hear you use girly or girls as a substitute word for weak or lame? It’s not OK.” And his point back to me was that he was just having some fun, and, as he put it, quote ‘intent matters.’ And he is right. It does.
But to borrow one of Chuck’s own favorite phrases, in my opinion, that is still not good enough of a reason to feel OK about using that expression. And this isn’t a P.C. (political correctness) police thing. I’m not offended in any way. This is just about girls out there who love watching Chuck talk about basketball as much as I do, who shouldn’t have to grow up feeling like they are the living, human stand-in definition of being less than or weak. And frankly, young boys shouldn’t be growing up thinking that about boys, either.
It remains unclear how Nichols’ overly sensitive response refutes Barkley’s stereotyping of girls as soft or weak.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn