Barkley apologizes before return

Updated: February 18, 2009, 7:07 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Charles Barkley called his drunken-driving arrest "unacceptable" as he prepared to return to his television gig after a six-week leave of absence.

Barkley
Barkley

Barkley had a blood-alcohol level of .149 percent, nearly twice the legal limit of .08 percent in Arizona, after the 45-year-old former NBA star was arrested Dec. 31 in Scottsdale.

He will resume his studio analyst role for TNT on Thursday.

"This is just my bad, no excuses," Barkley said in an interview with TNT colleague Ernie Johnson posted on NBA.com Wednesday.

"I think that a DUI is unacceptable," he added. "That can't happen and I've got to challenge other people, not just celebrities or jocks. You have to really think before getting behind the wheel after you've been drinking."

Barkley conceded he may face jail time. He indicated that the case will be resolved by plea agreement and expected to undergo alcohol counseling.

"I think it's going to be good for me, to be honest. I need to make sure drinking is not a problem for me," he said. "I just want some professionals to talk to me about it."

If they tell him to stop drinking, "then I'll have to stop drinking," he said.

Asked if he could do that, he replied, "I feel I can do anything that I put my mind to."

Barkley apologized to his family, employer and the league, saying he had embarrassed them. He thanked a long list of friends -- including Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Moses Malone -- for checking in on him.

He vowed he would start using a driver when he goes out in public and would not get behind the wheel after any drinking.

"I let so many people down," he said. "It just [stinks] watching the shows and not being there. I screwed this up."


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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