Charles Barkley thinks NFL fans who complain about Taylor Swift shouldn’t have nice things.
“If you’re screaming at Taylor Swift saying she ruined [football], you’re just a loser,” Barkley, 60, declared during the Thursday, February 1, episode of his King Charles show. “You’re just a loser or a jackass. You’re either A or B. You’re one of the two.”
Barkley’s costar, Gayle King, agreed with the NBA all-star, arguing that Swift, 34, claiming the singer has brought a new demographic to the NFL since she began dating Kansas City Chiefs player Travis Kelce in summer 2023.
“You see young teen girls watching football for the first time,” she argued, while their guest host, American sports commentator Bob Costas, theorized that Swift’s politics — in addition to her relationship with Kelce, 34 — may contribute to the recent hate.
“Because they don’t like something about Taylor Swift — either they don’t like the Chiefs or they’ve inferred that Taylor Swift might not be a Trumper — then they’re annoyed by Taylor Swift,” he claimed. “I can guarantee that all this news on Fox News would not be happening if she was wearing a MAGA hat. They would love it.”
Swift began speaking up about politics in 2018 when she publicly supported Tennessee’s Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and criticized his Republican opponent, Marsha Blackburn, due to her stance on LGBTQIA+ issues and women’s rights. She also openly endorsed Joe Biden for president in 2020. When she urged people to vote via a single Instagram Story in September 2023, it resulted in more than 35,000 new registered voters.
With 2024 being an election year, how Swift could have an influence on the upcoming presidential campaign has been a topic of conversation. Last month, the cohosts of The View defended the pop star after a montage of Fox News reporters slamming Swift for her political views went viral on social media.
“If you’re screaming at Taylor Swift saying she ruined [football], you’re just a loser. You’re just a loser or a jackass.” – Charles Barkley pic.twitter.com/fhah8fjCjz
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) February 1, 2024
“Why is [Taylor] triggering everybody?” panelist Whoopi Goldberg said on the January 30 episode of the talk show. “They are freaking out.”
While many have loved watched Swift and Kelce’s love story unfold, some have pushed back, claiming that the NFL has been too focused on her attendance at Chiefs games. Swift, however, clapped back during her TIME “Person of the Year” interview, saying she can’t control how much screentime the cameras give her.
“I’m just there to support Travis,” she told the outlet in December 2023. “I have no awareness of if I’m being shown too much and pissing off a few dads, Brads, and Chads.”
Now that the Chiefs have secured the AFC Championship, Swift is expected to make an appearance during Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, February 11, despite her Tokyo Eras Tour stint wrapping up just one day prior. Costas believes her attendance can only bring positive effects.
“When it comes to the Super Bowl, where a lot of people who don’t watch football all year long double the audience even at the conference championship games, part of that is the halftime entertainment, part of that is the commercials,” he explained. “It’s hard to believe the Super Bowl could even have a higher rating but in a small percentage, it might even up that.”
Costas also credited Swift for the recent increase in NFL merchandise. “Travis Kelce jerseys and all he rest and the attention to the regular season games? The NFL reigned supreme not only over sports but over all of American entertainment,” he said. “You would think they couldn’t improve on that but now they’ve tapped into [a new] demographic.”