1. Francis #1 says

    Charles has always gotten it. He’s also always said this very statement….he’s played with gay teammates. Everyone has. And Charles is right. If only everyone had his mentality.

  2. Rick says

    Well, he actually said he “probably” had 3 or 4 gay teammates over the years, which was more hyperbole than fact, the way I heard it. And Jason Collins, himself, has said he does not know of any other NBA players who are gay.

    Even so, you have to love Barkley for being out there on this issue–other players, past and present, as well as fans everywhere, have a great deal of respect for him, as does the media, of which he is now a very influential part….. he is undeniably “basketball royalty”, so what he says matters and matters a great deal in the world of sports. Probably more than just about anybody else when it comes to basketball.

  3. Rick says

    By the way, thanks Towleroad, for finally featuring some sports-related stories instead of “diva”-related fluff. A nice change, indeed.

  4. Rick says

    Because “diva”-related fluff reminds me of how my dad used to dress me up like a Diva to help Fluff him.

    You’d hate the memory, too. He smelled like corn nuts and Depends, down there.

  5. Jay says

    Rick, in context: Barkley was asked if a teammate discussed his sexuality with him and the response was “I had several teammates, I probably had three or four guys I played with in my 16 years.”

    Its not hyperbole. Quick, answer this question: “How many cars have you owned over your lifetime?” Barkley was live/on-air. You don’t take time to think of each instance. I can tell you I have owned 4 cars in my life but i had to think about it for a minute. Gay aint his thing…someone telling him that he’s gay is probably just as memorable as your cars. You can put a name and a face to the question but it takes a second.

    The other thing Charles Barkley is straight and a man of really good character. Obviously, this is a man you can trust and that was probably evident to the 3 or 4 guys who came out to him. Jason Collins on the other hand, while it is great he came out recently… He tried like hell to be straight…and he fronted. Out of fear, he probably told gay jokes and made homophobic comments. His gaydar probably went off and he ran in the other direction. He probably was not a safe person to come out to. So the fact that he didn’t know anybody doesn’t mean he didn’t play with gay men.

  6. Chitown Kev says

    Sir Charles of Barkley (bonus points for anyone who remembers how the “Sir” was affixed to barkley’s name) does it again.

    My personal opinion on this si that the players are a lesser concern than the fans (for example, fromer cardinal QB Kurt Warner)

  7. Derrick from Philly says

    @ “Out of fear, he probably told gay jokes and made homophobic comments. His gaydar probably went off and he ran in the other direction. He probably was not a safe person to come out to…”

    I don’t get the impression that Jason could have been that way, Jay. I’ve come across closeted homosexuals in my life–not all of them were cruel hypocrites….but, yeah, a lot were. The b.tches.

  8. Rick says

    “Out of fear, he probably told gay jokes and made homophobic comments.”

    Actually, Oprah asked him about that in her interview with him and he stated emphatically that he never behaved that way because his family always taught him to be tolerant of everybody.

    As for the “context” of Barkley’s remarks, note that he said that “everybody had a gay teammate”… how would he know that? I don’t want to quibble, but that is hyperbole, not fact.

    He may have actually known 3-4 guys in the NBA who were gay, but I don’t think that is clear from what he said in the interview.

    Also, consider that only 5% of NFL players, when polled recently, said they knew of even a single gay player in the NFL. That doesn’t mean there are not any, only that nobody really knows for sure.

    Heck Jason Collins’ own brother and parents had NO IDEA he was gay until he came out…..

  9. SFshawn says

    Michael Jordans support for gay marriage is certainly equal in influence to Sir Charles.
    It’s amazing when they actually get it. :)
    Bravo to both of these fine men.

  10. robroy says

    I think players probably respond to those surveys they way most of us do to ‘confidential’ work surveys and outside management consultants- with a huge level of skepticism.

    Also with 15 players on each team and the number of guys who do one and two year journeyman stints with different teams I totally believe that almost all NBA players have played with a gay guy. Maybe not for 6 seasons on the same team but when you toss in scrimmages, summer leagues, college teams, all stat games, etc you really do reach a point that statistically it becomes inevitable.

  11. says

    Barkley is the voice of sanity and good sportsmanship. What matters to him is professionalism: how a player can deliver and work with the other members of a team. Everything else is a personal matter of no concern to him unless said player wants to make it a concern.

  12. Francis #1 says

    Well what it does mean, Rick, that so few MLB/NFL players know of a gay player, that Jason Collins himself didn’t know of any, Robbie Rogers said he didn’t know a fellow gay soccer player…….it highlights how deeply closeted these players are. They are DEEPLY closeted. Their team doesn’t know or only a couple teammates, media doesn’t know, coaches probably don’t know.

    Charles, though, said that guys have spoke to him in regards to being gay, and that it was probably 3 or 4 guys. I don’t think the fact he knew these guys were gay was in question and more the number who he talked to. Regardless, he’s right in everything he’s saying, every single heterosexual player has played with and against a non-heterosexual player.

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