Charles Barkley started this. Now he’s looking for someone else to blame.

When Carmelo Anthony announced he would opt out of his contract on July 1 and become a free agent, Sir Charles, TNT’s NBA studio analyst, was quick to criticize. He delivered his critique of Anthony a few different times, including twice on TNT (Monday/Thursday).

Barkley’s rap was basically the same. Anthony “forced” his way to New York: “Now all of a sudden he wants to leave? He wants to test free agency? That really pissed me off.” Barkley added that Anthony should be a recruiter, trying to convince other free agents to join the Knicks.

On Thursday night, prior to Knicks-Bulls, Barkley started to backpedal (“It’s not a criticism of Carmelo”) before returning to the fast track his mouth had been running on.

“I hate when guys talk about being a free agent,” he said. “It distracts from their team.”
Why?

“You know the media,” Barkley told his colleagues Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.
“They are idiots. They are going to ask him (Anthony) the same question every day.”

Oh, now it’s the media’s fault. Barkley must suffer from temporary amnesia. He instigated this whole thing. Now he’s blaming the members of the media who cover the Knicks for 1) getting Anthony’s reaction to his comments and 2) continuing to monitor a story that will linger (and likely get bigger) as the season progresses.

And if the media are “idiots” for doing their job, what does that make the people Barkley works with at TNT? On Thursday night, TNT did a one-on-one with Anthony where he, once again, was asked about the free agency issue, where he said he wanted to “retire in New York.”

Barkley had no problem when TNT was asking the questions. He didn’t refer to his colleagues as “idiots.” And, of course, reporters in Chicago went to Anthony for comments in the wake of the TNT interview. Barkley probably had a huge problem with that, too.

Usually Barkley, who obviously does not consider himself a media member, will hold himself accountable for what he says and any chain reaction his words cause. This time he weaseled and played the blame game.