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Barkley Being Barkley

With presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in attendance Sunday night at the Hawks-Celtics game in Boston, TNT basketball analyst Charles Barkley opined about Romney's political chances in November, presumably against the Democrats and Barkley himself.

"Mitt Romney, we're going to beat you like a drum in November."

At first thought, you think this is something he might be saying in the studio while they're in commercial, but no, he said it during the broadcast. He immediately went on to disparage a colorfully dressed Celtic fan, seen in this clip, using the forbidden F-word to describe gays, so there's probably an equal opportunity for left and right to be offended here.

Never mind he said it in a sports telecast, where most people at the very least tune in to get away from things like politics, but he said it during a NBA game, which probably triple-doubles the aforementioned statement.

Not sure how TBS management will handle this one. Charles Barkley is paid to be, well, Charles Barkley, which loosely defined is an astute loose canon, candid, charming, and funny, but sometimes borderline buffoonish. The art, Chuck, is keeping it within the confines of the game, and leaving politics (and everything else non-sports) out. Or at least I'd be willing to bet.

The question begging to be answered is why Auburn people still care so much about what Charles Barkley says and does? Why do we feel compelled to either bask in his celebrity or cringe in his mistakes?

Who made Chuck Barkley the unofficial spokeman for Auburn?

Basically, we did.

Because Auburn is a family, we still own virtually all those members who belonged, especially if they wore the Blue and Orange on the field or on the court. Charles is either the second or the first most popular athlete to ever come out of Auburn, depending on the individual doing the ranking. I just did mine.

We can't marvel that an Auburn guy is hosting Saturday Night Live on one hand and then hang our head in shame after a stunt like this. It's inconsistent. But still, why?

He's family. And we can't help but to claim him.

But we ask, why can't Chuck be more like Bo, who recently biked 400 miles across Alabama to raise money for the tornado victims of 2011? Bo, who generally eschews the spotlight but came back to represent well during Cam's Heisman campaign in 2010?

Because then he wouldn't be Barkley.

Charles is Charles and always will be. He's a man, flawed like us all, but unique, too. To share the Auburn spirit, you needn't agree with everything a person says or does. True, he's never going to be governor of Alabama, and unless he ever disowns us, he's never going to be anything other than Auburn.