Charles Barkley has been a mainstay on television in recent years, appearing on the NBA on TNT and providing commentary about basketball. However, he reportedly had an opportunity to analyze a different sport. Barkley said that he turned down an offer for Monday Night Football.
The former NBA star made the comments during an appearance on the Jim Brockmire Podcast with Hank Azaria. The two men took time to discuss trolls on Twitter and why "these amateurs" take time out of their days to make awful comments. Barkley said that he doesn't understand why people feel the need to comment on everything, which set up the revelation about ESPN's football broadcast.
"I only comment on basketball. Like they offered me Monday Night Football," Barkley said. "I say, 'I like football, but I ain’t going to be one of these jackasses to get on TV and act like he knows about football.'" Barkley then discussed his own life, explaining that he wouldn't say 'let me get off my fat a— and grab my computer' to comment.
While Barkley did not join the broadcast team, he has appeared on Monday Night Football over the years. He has joined the broadcast to make comments about a variety of topics. He also traded barbs with former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and jokingly threatened to "call HR" after a comment about his weight.
ESPN has tested out multiple broadcast teams in recent years. The long-running booth has featured several teams in the booth and on the sidelines, including one headlined by Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, and Ron Jaworski. Although the former Eagles quarterback left the broadcast and moved to studio analysis before ESPN laid him off in 2017, along with many other personalities.
When Tirico headed to NBC, ESPN had to find a new play-by-play man to join Gruden in the booth. Sean McDonough filled the role until Gruden returned to the sidelines as the coach of the Raiders. McDonough returned to college sports while Joe Tessitore, Jason Witten, and Booger McFarland took over, sparking a wide variety of negative comments.
Tessitore and McFarland remained on Monday Night Football for two seasons while Witten headed back to the NFL after only one season in the booth. The critical comments continued, forcing ESPN to make yet another change. The broadcaster created a new team that featured Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick. This team drew solid reviews from viewers and created far fewer jokes than their predecessors.