Charles Barkley: Public Funding for Stadiums ‘Rips Off Poor People’

Las Vegas, NV

Not that he necessarily has a say in the matter, but Charles Barkley staunchly opposes the Raiders relocation to Las Vegas.

But, not because he sees putting an NFL team full of players who have no idea how to manage their money directly in the middle of America’s Mecca of lost wages as a bad idea, even though that would constitute a very good reason for keeping a team out of Vegas.

On the contrary, Barkley sees the Las Vegas Raiders as a threat to the “poor people” of Nevada, not necessarily the highly financed football players who would play there. Barkley made his feelings known while speaking with a Las Vegas sports anchor:

Barkley said:

They rip off poor people to build these stadiums. That’s why I’m not a fan of the Raiders coming to L.A. These owners, who are billionaires, have been screwing these fans forever, making them build new stadiums. You know, it’s amazing. We have an awful public school system. We can’t pay our teachers and things like that. But they’ve come up with money because if you own a professional team you’re going to print money. But I think it’s a disgrace that we make these poor people build these rich guys’ stadiums.

Oh, they got money. They just want a bigger stadium. They gonna get more money coming here. … There’s always money. They could move to Santa Clara and play where the 49ers play, which would be fair to their fan base. But they don’t care. They just want the most money.

The Nevada legislature paved the way for the Raiders move by approving a $750 million dollar hotel tax to help pay for a new stadium. The kind of traveling clientele who will supply the three-quarters of a billion dollars in revenue that the tax will yield would probably not qualify as poor in the eyes of most people.

Still, the idea that private businesses, especially those run by billionaires, should pay for their own facilities has some merit.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn