From TNT's "Inside the NBA":
Charles Barkley: "I think they should let all the NBA players and coaches get the vaccine. That's just my personal opinion."
Kenny Smith: "I don't know. That's a tough call, Chuck."
Barkley: "We need 300 million shots, give a thousand to some NBA players, NFL players, hockey players. As much taxes as these players pay - let me repeat that - as much taxes as these players pay, they deserve some preferential treatment."
Smith: "For life and death?"
Ernie Johnson: "The amount of money you make does--"
Barkley: "I said TAXES! I didn't say the amount of money you make."
I read once that the Sun's average surface temperature is around 10,000 degree F, but that it has a cauldron deep inside that is 27 million degrees. That was considered to be the hottest natural spot in our solar system until Sir Charles offered up this take.
Remember early on in the pandemic when it was all about how (repeat after me), "we're all in this ... together?" How everyone from Public Service Announcements to ads for health care providers to commercials for cars and beer drilled this message of unity into our heads ad nauseum? I've seen enough end of the world apocalypse movies to wonder when exactly all the niceties and positive vibes would last and what would be the tipping point that would make us tear each other apart. And while we've kept ourselves in check fairly well thanks to the number of streaming channels and the liquor stores remaining open, there is still time for the whole Jenga tower to get knocked over. And Charles Barkley might have just inadvertently pulled out that first block.
The vaccine might be the catalyst. Once we see this thing working and we are divided among the Have and Have Nots, when some are getting it and some aren't, and it's not based on merit or need but who you are and how much you're worth, all bets are off. When we see some of us back to our old lives of trips to crowded restaurants, packed bars and responsibility-free Tinder/Grinder hookups without a care in the world, while some of us are still masked up and huddled up in our houses like hermits waiting for a shot in the arm that's not coming any time soon, it's going to turn into the cliff-push ceremony from "Midsommer" real quick around here. And Barkley is the first person in the country to admit publicly it should all be based on how much you money you've paid into the system. But there's no way he's the only one who thinks this way.
But hey, while you might hate The Sir Charles Plan, at least it is a plan. Which is more than we can say about the arbitrary, chaotic goatfuck the government has come up with so far. By the end of the year they were supposed to have given out 20 million jabs. The number was closer to two million. Hospitals in NYC have been throwing thawed out vaccines into the trash because they couldn't find people who were "eligible." Even after they had nurses literally wandering the streets looking for someone who met the government guidelines.
So sure. What the hell. Why not base it on what you've paid in taxes? Back of the line with you, emergency room nurses. Not so fast, firefighters. Where do you think you're going, soldier? Just hold yer wad there, hospice workers, nursing home physical therapist and teachers in crowded classrooms. You'll get your turn when we've made sure our athletes and coaches got theirs. I mean, who's going to skate the penalty kill for the Phoenix Coyotes tonight? You, restaurant server? As if.
So I for one join Barkley in this. Full disclosure, it will jump me ahead of the line of a lot my neighbors who are at way greater risk because they work retail, gyms, hospitality and construction. But at the same time, it means I will willingly take my place behind much wealthier people in higher tax brackets. And I'll be proud to sit and wait while Kyrie Irving gets his life saving antidote. Or Antonio Brown. Hell, Roger Goodell can take my spot. He's earned it based on the taxable portion of that 40 million he made last year.
Sure, this would be a tough break for people who've lost their jobs in the shutdown through no fault of their own and have seen their income fall to nothing. No money, no taxes. And it won't do much for retirees living off their pensions and savings. And if you're a wounded veteran getting by on your disability payments from the VA, well you're shit out of luck. It's Jeff Bezos to the front of the line. Followed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, our celebrities and the owners, coaches and players in our pro leagues. So just hang in there until they're all squared away and if you don't die, there might be something for you at the end of the line of 330 million people who had better paying jobs than you. Barkley didn't get to become a Sir without having good ideas and hot takes.