Barkley calls Weight Watchers gig 'scam'

Jan. 7, 2012 at 9:38 PM

ATLANTA, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Former NBA star Charles Barkley, believing his microphone was turned off, described his gig as a Weight Watchers spokesman as a "scam."

Barkley, who serves as an NBA commentator on TNT, made the comments during a commercial break in Thursday's game between the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks.

"I thought this was the greatest scam going -- getting paid to watch sports. This Weight Watchers thing is a bigger scam," The New York Times quoted him as saying.

YouTube took down a clip of the comment after a copyright claim by the NBA, USA Today reported.

For its part, Weight Watchers defended Barkley and put a positive spin on his unguarded remark.

"We love Charles for the same reason everyone loves Charles -- he's unfiltered," Weight Watchers spokesman Matthew Bautista said in a statement. "We are thrilled that he is having great success and inspiring millions of men to join him. We agree that being a spokesman for Weight Watchers is a pretty great gig."

Weight Watchers also released a statement from Barkley, in which he said: "I meant what I said. The fact that I'm dropping pounds, getting healthier and getting paid at the same time is my definition of a great scam. The only problem is I'm going to have to use some of the money to buy a new wardrobe."

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