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Charles Barkley: “we’ve all played with gay guys”

May 17, 2011, 5:14 PM EDT

Barkley, representing the 1992 United States Olympic "Dream Team"  in the Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2010, speaks in Springfield Reuters

Rick Welts, the CEO of the Phoenix Suns, came out publically saying he was gay in a lengthy Sunday New York Times piece. (Are there short Sunday New York Times pieces?)

That has restarted the discussion about gay athletes in professional sports, and how that will be received when an active player in one of the nation’s major team sports does come out.

Charles Barkley doesn’t think it will be that big a deal and said as much in a couple interviews, including one on WJOX in Birmingham (via Sports Radio Interviews):

“(Some in the media) make it sound like we’re animals, and if somebody came out as a gay player, then we would shun him or whatever. First of all, we only hate guys that can’t play…. And like I said, we all know it, we’ve all played with gay guys. Anybody who doesn’t think they’ve played with a gay guy is an idiot.”

So did Barkley ever play with gay players?

“Oh yeah, probably three or four guys that we all knew was gay. But there’s this taboo — and the thing that makes me laugh is society is more BS on homosexuality than players are. Like I say, there’s guys I played with that I knew were gay and it didn’t bother me at all.”

Barkley summed it up the same sentiments well with the Washington Post.

“First of all, every player has played with gay guys. It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say, ‘Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.’ First of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can’t play.”

I wish it were that simple, but at the core I hope Barkley is right.

When a player does come out — and it’s a when, not an if — there will be bigots coming out of the woodwork to take shots. But for the most part, Barkley is right that if a guy is helping a team win, if he is a good teammate, the guys in his locker room won’t care much about anything else. Most NBA players are younger than 30, a generation that is more libertarian with their views — live and let live — than their parents or grandparents. Not all, but as a whole.

Most players would not really care. I think.

  1. 00maltliquor - May 17, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Rudy Gay

  2. cosanostra71 - May 17, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    I hope Barkley is right.

  3. JackLeone - May 17, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    First of all, if you keep saying first of all, it’s not first anymore. What about secondly and furthermore?

    • davidly - May 18, 2011 at 10:11 AM

      Furthermore, the sports-urinalist typifies the kind of attitude that they are projecting onto the players.

      How’s that?

  4. seanb20124 - May 17, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Michelle Rhee

  5. jstrizzle - May 18, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    I feel like the title is misleading.

    • davidly - May 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM

      Yeah, I thought he was using a metaphor for masturbation.

  6. hnirobert3 - May 18, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    Lenny Dykstra

  7. davidly - May 18, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Sometimes Sir Charles can be enlightening. I think he just means to say that there is no greater proportion of homophobics on NBA rosters than in other professions. I think he’s right.

  8. downtowndanny - May 18, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    so see Chris Bosh, it’s ok now……..man hug away dude

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