In a radio interview taped on Monday, Charles Barkley offered up his opinion on the challenges faced by gay athletes in their prospective sports and the way the situation is commonly portrayed in the media:
“Charles Barkley is sick and tired of hearing how the sanctuary of the locker room is not ready for a male athlete in a major team sport to come out to his teammates, how awkward everyone would feel after they heard a teammate say, ‘I’m gay.’
Also weary of the perception that a majority of straight male athletes are intensely homophobic, Barkley said gay players pose no problem, adding, ‘Man, we need to outlaw guys who suck at sports.’
‘I really like ESPN,’ Barkley added. ‘They do a great job. But like once every two or three months, they bring all these people on there, and they tell me how me and my team are going to respond to a gay guy.
‘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.’
‘Any professional athlete who gets on TV or radio and says he never played with a gay guy is a stone-freakin’ idiot,’ Barkley said. ‘I would even say the same thing in college. Every college player, every pro player in any sport has probably played with a gay person.
‘First of all, society discriminates against gay people,” Barkley said. “They always try to make it like jocks discriminate against gay people. I’ve been a big proponent of gay marriage for a long time, because as a black person, I can’t be in for any form of discrimination at all.’