WATCH: Charles Barkley Says He Played Alongside Gay Teammates But It’s No One’s Business

Former NBA MVP Charles Barkley says what we’ve known all along —there have always been gay men playing professional basketball.  Asked about Jason Collins during an interview with Dan Matthews (listen in around the 10:00 mark in the video), Barkley said he’s worked alongside several during his career.

“Everybody played with a gay teammate and it’s no big deal,” Barkley said after being asked. “I think it’s an insult to gay people to think they tried to pick up on a teammate.”

Asked if players’ sexual orientation is common knowledge among teammates, Barkley replied, “It’s obviously discussed — privately — because the problem is that, unless somebody tells you they’re gay, you can’t say anything about them being gay.”

Barkley stated that there he knew three or four gay NBA players, but added, “Until a gay guy comes out it’s none of your business.”

Queerty sports fans, do you agree it’s no one’s business or does the sports world need more role models?

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  • muscl954

    I’m 56 years old. I don’t need any role models at this point in my life. I hope I’ve become one for others. But, the LBGT youth do need more OUT roles models – not just in sports, but in all vocations. HOWEVER, it is not for me to say who should “come out”. That is the individual’s choice when and how. NOT my business.

  • LadyL

    I want to commend Barkley’s frankness about gay players, but some of his remarks make me squirm.
    Of course everybody’s played with a gay teammate, but if it’s truly “no big deal” why has it taken this long for just one active player to come out? Clearly locker room homophobia (as well as fears about the reactions of coaches and fans) have had a corrosive effect. John Amaechi talked about this last week on Steve Kornacki’s MSNBC show “Up,” referring to it as “death by a thousand cuts,” the sheer emotional stamina it takes to stay focused on the game as you’re forced to deal with your teammates’ casual crudeness and insensitivity.
    And the “nobody’s business” argument always bothers me because it seems to say one thing while really saying something else entirely. It’s kin to “I don’t care” and “why do we have to talk about it,” phrases that are trying to sound reasonable and respectful of privacy but actually reveal discomfort and a desire for discussion about teh subject to stop.
    Which walks right up to the line of saying to LGBT people “Please go back in your closet and stay there. I can deal with your existence more easily if I don’t have to know you’re around.”
    And yes of course the sports world needs more out and proud and active team players. When players come out they don’t just inspire youngsters who need them, they enlighten coaches and fellow players and change the tenor of the conversation in the locker room.

  • kayakriver

    @LadyL: I think he means it’s no big deal for him and other players.

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