Charles Barkley: ‘Public at Large is More Homophobic than Guys in the Locker Room’
Charles Barkley doesn’t think an openly gay basketball player would have any problem being accepted by his teammates. He thinks the bigger problem facing an out player would be being accepted by the general public.
“I think that they’re going to be safe with their teammates. I think the public at large is more homophobic than guys in the locker room,” Barkley told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer when asked how an openly gay NBA player would be received by his teammates. “If you go back and look at that Michael Sam interview, he told his team over the summer. He never had an issue and none of those players outed him on Instagram or Twitter or all that other social crap.”
The NBA Hall of Famer spoke with Blitzer a day after his interview with President Barack Obama aired on TNT. During the interview, Obama praised former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam for publicly coming out as gay a few months before the NFL draft.
Blitzer asked Barkley why he raised the issue of gay rights with Obama.
“Well I think it’s important as a black man to always be inclusive. I’m always against any form of discrimination. I learned that from Bill Russell,” Barkley said. “As a black player, we always want to be inclusive. And we’ve all played with gay players. Listen, we should not be discriminating against anybody. And I think it’s an insult to gay people to think that they’re going to be looking at their teammates in a sexual way.”