With the Conference Finals underway, TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley joins The Mike Wise Show with Holden Kushner to discuss what he thinks will take place for the remainder of the post season. He also talks golf and the ongoing saga surrounding Tiger Woods.
That’s not all though, he also gives his take on the Phoenix Suns President who publicly admitted that he is gay, and you might be surprised at what he had to say.
You can read that portion of the interview below, and listen to the interview its entirety by clicking on the link beneath that.
MW: Chuck I gotta ask you, the Suns president Rick Welts comes out and says that he’s gay. How would a male gay player be received in pro sports by his teammates?
CB: You know Michael, I’m really glad you asked that question because I really like ESPN, they do a great job, but like once every two or three months, they do these things, and they bring all these people on there and they tell me how my team and me are gonna respond to a gay guy. I’m like first of all, every player has played with gay guys.
MW: So do you think some of your teammates were gay?
CB: Of course they were gay. First of all, I didn’t think that if they weren’t gay.
MW: They were gay, and so did you treat them any differently or did you feel there was any weirdness going on in the locker room because of that?
CB: First of all, a guy is never gonna put himself in that situation in a professional locker room. I never felt, it never crossed my mind to think any different about the guy. You know, in sports, we need to outlaw guys who suck at sports.
MW: Perfectly said.
CB: That’s what we really need. Any professional athlete who gets on TV or radio and says he’s never played with a gay guy is a stone-freakin’ idiot. Every professional – 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. They’re not gonna do anything in a locker room. It doesn’t work like that, but listen, I wish Rick the best. I wish him the best. That doesn’t bother me whatsoever. I know him because I live in Phoenix. But it bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say, ‘Oh, no guy could come out in a team sport, these guys would go crazy.’ Well first of all, quit telling me what I think. I’d rather have a gay guy who can play, then a straight guy who can’t play.
MW: Have you actually had a teammate come up to you and say, ‘Hey, Charles I’m gay,’ or does it come out in conversation?
CB: No, no. First of all, society discriminates against gay people. They always try to make it like jocks discriminate against gay people. I’ve been 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. And the first people who whine and complain are 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. But has one of my teammates ever said it? No, he has not. But let me tell you something, and listen, Mike knows. Mike’s been in the locker room 100 years, and you know one of my favorite sayings is? It’s when people say, ‘If somebody asks you if there’s rumors about somebody about being gay, more than likely it’s true.’ Because you know if you ask Mike, he asks me about my rebounds, how many points have I scored, about my defense. There’s never going to be a question where he comes up and says, ‘Chuck are you gay?’ That’s not the way the whole media-sports player thing works. If there’s a rumor, if there’s something out there that’s been proven or not proven, but most of the players, and listen, we gossip behind each other’s backs, I’ll be the first to admit that, but there’s no doubt in my mind, first of all, I’ve played with several gay players.
MW: On every team, Charles?
CB: On every team? Great question. I’d say on two of the teams I’ve played on. But it didn’t bother me. And listen I think it’s disrespectful to gay people to think just because they played a sport they would be trying to talk to the players like that. Society doesn’t work like that.