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WP: Charles Barkley: In sports, ability to play should outweigh sexual orientation


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http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/wizards/charles-barkley-in-sports-ability-to-play-should-outweigh-sexual-orientation/2011/05/17/AFSArk5G_story.html

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.”

After all, Barkley has no doubt he played with several gay teammates.

“I didn’t think it . . . they were gay,” he said when asked Monday about Phoenix Suns President Rick Welts coming out in a New York Times story over the weekend.

The Hall of Fame player and TNT analyst added he was certain he had gay teammates “on two of three teams I played on.”

Big deal, Barkley basically said, in a wide-ranging interview we taped Monday for my radio show on WJFK (106.7 FM): Those two teams with gay players? They still won and flourished. They had camaraderie and chemistry. And no, neither he nor his straight teammates were ever hit on or flirted with to his recollection.

Fears of feeling uncomfortable in the shower or the dressing areas, Barkley said, are unfounded in his experience.

“A guy is never going to put himself in that situation in a professional locker room,” Barkley said. “It never crossed my mind, and I never felt any different about the guy.”

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.”

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I have said it before and I will say it again: the media is the one driving the homophobic lockerroom. Once an openly gay man plays a professional sport well, everything will be normal. As long as the media keeps writing stories quoting fringe athletes and fans, this will continue to be an issue. Once a gay man dunks on you/hits a HR off you/strikes you out/throws a TD/catches a TD/sacks a QB, all he becomes is the guy you are trying to beat.

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Charles Barkley is one of the most interesting, smartest, and most unique anouncers in all of sports. I love the guy... Everytime he opens his mouth he makes me think. Usually Laugh too.

He would be another good GOP candidate.

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I have said it before and I will say it again: the media is the one driving the homophobic lockerroom. Once an openly gay man plays a professional sport well, everything will be normal. As long as the media keeps writing stories quoting fringe athletes and fans, this will continue to be an issue. Once a gay man dunks on you/hits a HR off you/strikes you out/throws a TD/catches a TD/sacks a QB, all he becomes is the guy you are trying to beat.

I don't know about that. I can just imagine how many times an openly gay athlete would be called a faggot in the heat of battle.

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I don't know about that. I can just imagine how many times an openly gay athlete would be called a ****** in the heat of battle.
And? You don't make it that far as a gay man without developing thick skin. Besides, if some dude calls you a ***, and you dunk on him, you can always ask: If I'm a ***, and I just whooped your ass, what's that make you?"

EDIT: And you don't think black athletes were called the N word? Or Europeans were called *******? It happens.

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There has to be a reason these guys don't come out. Just like ESPN can't talk for everyone in a locker room, neither can Charles Barkley. I commend him for his comments I think it's positive in a way, but it doesn't mean everyone in every locker room thinks the same way.

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Unless he's talking about college basketball, in which he is completely clueless. Anyone who watched this past NCAA tourney can attest to that.

his analysis of the game was dead on. He doesnt know the players. He was brought in to talk and analyze the game which him and kenny do great on TNT

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I think it's a taboo topic because no one has done it yet, and no one wants to be the FIRST one to do it and get all that media attention and have to address the topic. I honestly think most mid to low profile professional athletes just want to go out and play their sport and keep their private lives separate. Once the first major athlete comes out of the closet, others will follow, and so on.

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I saw the headline on the ESPN crawl at the bottom the other day and it really pissed me off that this was "news." Who gives a rats ass? If the guy is a good front office guy, is it really news what sex he sleeps with? My god this world gets dumber and more ridiculous by the minute.

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I saw the headline on the ESPN crawl at the bottom the other day and it really pissed me off that this was "news." Who gives a rats ass? If the guy is a good front office guy, is it really news what sex he sleeps with? My god this world gets dumber and more ridiculous by the minute.

In the sports world, it's a pretty big deal.

I like to believe that Barkley is right. But then I think of Tim Hardaway.

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