Last night, October 25th, the NBA held its opening night for the 2023-2024 season, and of course, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was on hand. Charles Barkley was also on hand for TNT and had a few moments to speak with Silver in a short interview. Reportedly Barkley decided to go off script and bring up a serious concern with the Commissioner. According to The Athletic, Barkley took time out in the broadcast to address the alarming trend and rise in domestic violence cases within the league.
Furthermore, Charles left the floor open for Silver to address how the NBA was going to respond.
“There's been a couple disturbing incidents of domestic violence in the NBA right now, what we doing to address that?” Barkley asked, before continuing, “Because you can't put your hands on women, man. And we should be on the forefront in sports. … So what are we as a league doing to do about that?”
In his response, the Commissioner seemed very caught off guard but pushed back on being in competition to lead on the issue. He gave a very cookie-cutter answer that felt like high-level PR training paying off in real time. He also passed the buck to the Players Association which created the program to handle domestic violence issues.
“So, we're addressing it,” he said. “We have state of the art counseling professionals dealing with our players, but of course if a guy does cross the line, the consequences are enormous.”
Additionally, the Athletic's tapped into its sources through Richard Deitsch to confirm Barkley indeed went off script to ask the question. Perhaps opening night live on air wasn't the place to have a full conversation.
However, it places it on the forefront of everyones mind and any issues in the future can't handled with a lackluster response.
You can watch the preseason interview with Commissioner Silver below.