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Charles Barkley: Ability Outweighs Sexuality in Sports

Charles Barkley says that he had gay teammates on 2 of his 3 professional NBA teams, that there was no problem whatsoever with homophobia, and that the media needs to stop pretending that gays face more obstacles in sports than elsewhere.

In a wide-ranging interview on WJFK (106.7 FM), Barkley really let his opinions on the matter out. We’ve posted chunks of the interview below – what do you think of his position on this whole homophobia in sports issue?

I really like ESPN. 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. 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.

A guy is never going to put himself in that situation in a professional locker room. They’re not going to do anything in the locker room. Doesn’t work like that. It never crossed my mind, and I never felt any different about the guy.

Society discriminates against gay people. 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.

We gossiped behind each other’s back before; I’ll be the first to admit that. The first people who whine and complain is them Bible-thumpers, who are supposed to be non-judgmental, who rail against them.

Hey, man, I don’t worry about what other people do…Man, we need to outlaw guys who suck at sports.