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Barkley: Fans ‘have to support’ Freeze, ‘ain’t none of us perfect’

Auburn head football coach Hugh Freeze should hold the support of the university’s fan base, according to NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley.

Barkley, perhaps the most prominent member of the Auburn community, recently made his thoughts on Freeze’s hiring known to Mark Heim, an Alabama Media Group sports reporter.

The “NBA on TNT” analyst told AL.com that his first choice to lead the Tigers would have been Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders, but is now fully on board with Freeze.

“I will always support who’s coaching at Auburn,” said Barkley, according to the outlet. “I made no secret about it. I was hoping for Deion Sanders, but they went in a different direction.”

Barkley took exception to the manner in which Auburn’s administration handled former head coach Bryan Harsin, who was subjected to an internal inquiry in light of unsubstantiated rumors being circulated regarding his conduct.

“I think I said what I always said. I didn’t like the way Bryan Harsin was treated,” said Barkley. “They put him in a really awkward situation where he couldn’t be successful. Now, we have to get our stuff together to support the new coach 100 percent.”

RELATED: Auburn AD: Freeze ‘best fit’ of all candidates

ALSO RELATED: AU’s Will Herring: ‘Freeze is a man of integrity’

Barkley insisted that Freeze, who holds a checkered past stemming from his tenure as head coach at Ole Miss, should have a second chance to demonstrate he has been reformed.

“One thing about being in the ‘Bible Belt,’ there’s a lot of people around here who think they’ve never made a mistake in their life,” he said. “I never pay attention to that noise, and that’s what it is noise. Ain’t none of us perfect, but for some reason when you’re in the ‘Bible Belt,’ I saw a sign ‘don’t judge anyone.’ They judge everyone.

“You can’t pay that any attention. The guy’s our coach now. We have to support him.”

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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