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Charles Barkley on ‘SNL’ to athletes: Keep speaking up

Charles Barkley returned to “Saturday Night Live” this week and used his opening monologue to send a strong message about the importance of athletes speaking out - and doing more than just sticking to dribbling.

"I'm an athlete and athletes have been speaking a lot this year," he said. "They've been kneeling during the anthem, refusing to go to the White House. A lot of times athletes are worried that speaking out will hurt their career. Here's something that contradicts all of that: Me. I've been saying whatever the hell I want for 30 years and I'm doing great. I'm hosting SNL for the fourth time for no reason. Lorne Michaels just wanted someone to talk to about 'Black Panther'. But this country has a great tradition of athletes speaking their minds. Muhammad Ali changed the way people thought about Vietnam. Jim Brown had people thinking about race. Michael Jordan even thought it was OK for him to play with Looney Toons."

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Barkley saved perhaps his best line for the end, a zinger at Fox News' Laura Ingraham, who sparked controversy last month when she told LeBron James - an NBA player who has donated millions to his community throughout his playing career - to shut up and dribble.

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"So LeBron," Barkley said, "keep on dribbling and don't ever shut up."

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