Both Taylor Swift's fans and her detractors have turned the pop star into one of the biggest stories entering Super Bowl LVIII.
Charles Barkley had some words for the latter group on Thursday.
Speaking with Gayle King and Bob Costas on CNN, the popular "NBA on TNT" commentator used his usual bluntness to take aim at fans who have accused Swift of ruining football with her appearances at Kansas City Chiefs games to cheer on her boyfriend, All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.
"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
"I'm going to look right in that camera. If you’re screaming at Taylor Swift saying she ruined [football], you’re just a loser. You’re just a loser or a jackass. You can be A or B."
Costas and King proceeded to discuss the political motivations behind much of the criticism of Swift, who has appeared on NFL broadcasts for an average of about 30 seconds during each game she has attended, and speculate on how many new viewers she has drawn to the NFL.
For reasons beyond Swift, the NFL has seen yet another season of growth in ratings at a time when nearly every television property — and most other major sports leagues — has seen stagnant or decreasing ratings. This year's Super Bowl between the reigning champion Chiefs, led by the league's top player in Patrick Mahomes, and the San Francisco 49ers, one of the league's most popular teams, is likely to continue that trend.
The Niners are currently a two-point favorite to win the title at BetMGM, though the overwhelming majority of money has come in favor of the Chiefs.