Posted May 07, 2013

Charles Barkley: ‘I probably had three or four gay teammates’

NBA
Charles Barkley said he "probably had three or four gay teammates." (NBC/Getty Images)

Charles Barkley said he “probably had three or four gay teammates.” (NBC/Getty Images)

The one-and-only Charles Barkley was a guest on The Dan Patrick Radio Show Tuesday and offered up some insight into just how common gay athletes are in professional sports, or at least in the NBA.

Asked by Patrick whether Barkley played with a gay teammate when he was in the league from 1984-2000, Barkley said, “yeah, of course I did” and then talked about what’s discussed, or not discussed, in the confines of the locker room:

“Everybody did. Everybody played with a gay teammate, Dan. And it’ s no big deal. First of all, I think it’s an insult to gay people to think that they’re trying to pick up on their teammates. But everybody has played with a gay teammate… It’s obviously discussed, privately, because the problem is, Dan, unless somebody tells you they’re gay, you can’t say a thing about them being gay. Ya know, until somebody has the courage, and I think it takes great courage to come out, it’s kind of an unspoken word to be honest with you.”

Patrick then asked Barkley if he had any teammates who discussed coming out with him, to which Barkley offered up more details:

“I had several teammates, I probably had three guys I played with in my 16 years. But like I say, think about Jason Collins, he played on six teams, so six teams played with a gay guy. And so, everybody has played with a gay guy, you just didn’t know he was a gay guy. Cause until a gay guy comes out, it’s none of your business.”

Barkley then goes on to cite a recent quote from former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, saying the night before Jason Collins came out via a Sports Illustrated article earlier this month, he never thought about who Collins “went to bed with.” And the day after the article was published, he still didn’t think about it.

The Atlantic published an article days later saying that Collins, in fact, is not the first player among the four major American sports — NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL — to come out and that it was actually Glenn Burke, formerly with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s, who came out to his teammates in 1976.

Footage of the Dan Patrick Show with Barkley’s comments can be seen below at the 10:12 mark:


40 comments
6marK6
6marK6

A cynic might think Collins came out so he could play the gay card if he was not signed. "They won't sign me because I am gay!" Could make for a lot of attention and speaking engagements. Of course, that is if you were cynical.

Iamnotanenabler
Iamnotanenabler

At the end of the day, a team exec will sign up someone for what he can contribute to the team, not for the drama/distraction that a player like Collins brings. Just imagine a shower room with Collins. Some players may not be homophobic but it doesn't mean they won't be uncomfortable. But for the sake of political correctness and media mileage, they'll hold their peace.

sgttrunk
sgttrunk

I am willing to bet that after all the pats on the back to Jason Collins are done he will not be part of an NBA team next year.  I will go out of my way to guarantee it.  Not everyone is thrilled to have a gay player on their team looking at them in the shower.  They may feel like a female tennis player having to shower with men in world Team Tennis.  People are going to feel uncomfortable about being looked at by one that has a proclivity to being aroused by watching them naked.   Players and their wives are going to wonder if he is peeking.  And you know something, this is America and they have every right to feel that way!  But if one expresses that position they are labeled homophobic and it will effect their career.  The teams will use the guise as he is not good enough, or we have already have a player signed to fit that need.  Sad to say this man played in his last NBA game.  I am not antigay and I think Jason Collins is a courageous man.  But if I were him I would have come out after I retired.  If he was a superstar he would be playing next year.  He is not and teams don't want a circus atmosphere surrounding their team, kind of the way Tim Tebow is having trouble signing on with a team.  Being gay is a personal decision one makes in life.  Keep it to yourself because the rest of us don't want to hear about it.  He should have kept his mouth shut and just lived his life the way the rest of us do.  Sad to say he probably lost his job over it.

Mark Stephens
Mark Stephens

I think those guys would tell Sir Charles they were drunk, and he took advantage of them.  

riley8
riley8

Barkley would talk to his shadow if it means he gets air time.

LJRich
LJRich

Barkley, I believe that all of us are flawed and make mistakes. What I can now appreciate about you is that you voice your opinion and are not restrained by public discourse. Of course as an athlete you have played with someone who is gay and who was hiding. Society places huge responsibility on those who have much and as a result, to declare openly that you are Gay in sports is probably not in the best interest of the athlete. Lets see if Collins gets a contract; just a question?

JohnEliShuey
JohnEliShuey

Good for Sir Charles.  Loved him as a Sixer, respect him as a person.

sgttrunk
sgttrunk

 @Iamnotanenabler

OMG!  A den of iniquity!  It is unfathomable how people can believe that abominable and detestable carnal copulation against nature with mankind is somehow normal and to think otherwise is intolerance.  No wonder Muslims hate America and call us the great Satan!!!!!

JamesL2
JamesL2

 @sgttrunk Jason Collins played in the NBA for over a decade with six different teams.  That means he played with hundreds of teammates over his career.  Think about how many showers he took with other dudes.  None of his teammates have ever mentioned Collins doing anything inappropriate.  Not one.  If Collins ends up remaining unsigned, it'll probably because he's in his 30s and a younger, cheaper player took his spot. 

ssatarkar
ssatarkar

 @sgttrunk "He should have kept his mouth shut and just lived his life the way the rest of us do." The rest of us get into relationships, get married and have families. How the hell was he suposed to do any of this if kept his mouth shut (i.e. without coming out)?

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

 @Mark Stephens again, I dont get the dislike of Barkley, the rare commentator who just gives his opinion and doesn't care about pandering to the suits for a prefect, calculated response.  TV would be better if more people were like Barkley

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

 @riley8 I dont get why you have a problem with him... hes brought on a show to talk about things, and he talks, and hes actually quite funny most of the time

 

Are you bitter that you dont get paid for a living to give your opinion on talk shows?  It sure sounds that way

RobertM
RobertM

 @LJRich His coming out will now do the opposite and guarantee him a contract. The NBA is a business with franchises like McDonalds etc. They can't not hire him now. After one or two seasons that will be a different story. And if you didnt know before let me enlighten you about something...the owners of that business don't give 2 S**ts about what any player thinks about anything period. 

Brian11
Brian11

 @LJRich

 He'll get a contract, and if anything it will be for more than his worth because it will be good PR for whatever team picks him up.

RobertM
RobertM

 @JamesL2  @sgttrunk Agreed 100%. He is old and was a low producer in numbers all along, I hope that he gets another job based on his basketball potential contribution but if he doe not it will be for BB reasons only...age, lack of offensive skill set etc. He has already outlasted his twin brother. A team like Miami could use a another 4 or 5 position guy with hustle and toughness like Birdman.

sgttrunk
sgttrunk

 @JamesL2 I would agree with that and I never suggested he did anything inappropriate.  The politically correct would chastise me for suggesting that a lot of NBA players would have a problem showering with a gay men.  I would feel very uncomfortable doing that.  I know that the majority of men in this country would also.  They can't express it because the liberal media would lite them up as homophobes.  Jason Collins probably came out when he did because at his age the gig might be up for him anyways.  Perhaps he feels a need to help other similarly situated people with a sexual identity crisis,  I hope he can get help and live a fulfilling life.  Good luck Jason.

 

sgttrunk
sgttrunk

Q-How the hell was he supposed to do any of this if kept his mouth shut (i.e. without coming out)?  A-Simple, your sexual orientation is your private business.  Don't make it everybody else's.  Be a professional, go to work, and play basketball.  Keep your private life private.  Homosexuality is a form of mental illness.  It is nothing to be proud of.  He can seek help thru counseling, be celibate, and live a normal life.  I agree that no one should be bullied or harassed for being different.  Society needs to teach tolerance.  But he does not need to announce to the world his problems no more than the world needs to hear mine.  To announce that you are gay in the workplace is extremely risky.  It creates a lot of problems for his employer and employees in the entire NBA.  Do you want to guard him.  Are you concerned he has aids.  Do you want to room with him.   Will people begin to publically question your sexuality for rooming with him.  Is he being traded or cut because he is queer.  I just don't think it is wise for an NBA player to announce, in that capacity, a sexual orientation.  It is an invitation to be unemployed very quickly! 

 

RobertM
RobertM

 @AaronDunckel  @Mark Stephens I could not agree more. As an African American I cringe at his use of poor grammar but respect his bravery, integrity in always speaking his mind unabated, and his candor from the perspective as an insider who was a superstar MVP type player. I don't get the hating on him but I suspect that the same people hate LBJ, Tiger, Farve, Bellichek, etc.

 

I always like to point out that the worlds biggest hater and the poster child of all haters was Osama Bin Laden. Every terrorist is a hater so there is something to this hating habit that is irrational and speaks to the kind of person that the hater is at their core. 

 

 

kailtm
kailtm

 @AaronDunckel  @riley8 I agree with you.  I always got a kick out of Barkley.  I was in a bar in Milwaukee when he played on the Sixers and he came in, played pool, and bought a round of beers for the whole place.  Seemed like a really good guy.

matt37
matt37

 @RobertM  @LJRich In 30 states you can be fired for being gay.  Legally.  So there's no guarantee there.

sgttrunk
sgttrunk

 @matt37  @JamesL2

Matt, being put together has nothing to do with his affliction.  He is facing the fight of his life.  To engage in homosexual behavior is out and out dangerous.  Being black and being gay statistically places him at a higher risk of acquiring HIV......The law of probabilities is such that I probably did shower with a male that derived pleasure at watching me naked.  That bothers me.  Schools should have private stalls. or schedule gym last period so kids don't have to be put in that situation.  This would also help the homosexual boy by not putting him into a situation where he can't control his impulses, and reduces the risk he may molest another boy!

matt37
matt37

 @sgttrunk  @JamesL2 And I'm pretty sure the guy doesn't need to "get help".  He seems like a pretty put together dude. Maybe you need help.

matt37
matt37

 @sgttrunk  @JamesL2 Ever been to the showers in high school?  The gym?  Have a shower at your building at work?  You've already showered in front of gay dudes......

matt37
matt37

 @sgttrunk  @bobinpowell Your position on the First Amendment is just as ignorant as your position on homosexuality.  The last I checked, the government wasn't coming to your door in the middle of the night to haul you away for your speech.  Uncle Sam isn't oppressing your right to say anything. That's all the Constitution guarantees you there.  Another private citizen saying that your position smacks of bigotry has nothing to do with your First Amendment rights. Secondly, if you think the homosexual "lifestyle" (being born gay isn't a "lifestyle" any more than me marrying a woman is a "lifestyle") is not a healthy alternative, I disagree, but I DO agree that you have the right to think anyway you want.  But when your way of thinking suggests or pushes for other people to not have certain rights you have, or when people think their way of thinking or religion should be law.........yeah, we don't have to "support" that.  And being ok with it isn't "tolerance", it's accepting your backasswards way of thinking.  Simply put, if this was 50 years ago and you still thought there should be separate water fountains, I'm not "intolerant" for speaking out against your backasswards point of view.

sgttrunk
sgttrunk

 @matt37  @bobinpowell

It is ironic that when people disagree with the left by stating that the homosexual lifestyle is not a healthy alternative they are accused of being bigoted, wrong, ignorant, or intolerant.  The 1st amendment protects my speech.  I have every right to say it.  I can express my position without insulting you or other homosexuals.  Why can't you support your argument without attacking me.  The reason you can't support your argument is because you can't justify your position.  Homosexual acts are not an expression of love.  They are an abomination!

sgttrunk
sgttrunk

 @matt37  @sgttrunk  @bobinpowell

Matt, homosexuality is a form of mental illness.  No one chooses to be inflicted with a mental illness no more than you or I would choose to be an alcoholic.  However, to act on it is a choice!  Jason Collins needs to take it one day at a time.  Only counseling, and the will power to be strong in his abstinence is going to get him thru this.  He has tremendous courage to admit his condition. I  pray he gets the help he needs, and has the will power to just say "NO"!

matt37
matt37

 @sgttrunk  @bobinpowell How the heck do you keep it to your self?  Don't you think this dude, and the other 10% of the American people who are gay, would like to just go about their regular lives as if their sexuality was no big deal?  What do you think would have happened the first time Collins brought a man-date to a team event?  Or mentioned his love life to his teammates, like a regular guy in a locker room?  It would have been a firestorm of publicity.   Good for him; he controlled the situation.  Sadly, we still live in a country full of bigots.  There are still 30+states in which he could have legally been fired for mentioning that he was gay. 

sgttrunk
sgttrunk

Bob, you sound like a card carrying member.  I don't feel the need to insult you for what you are.  The world needs tolerance and less hate.  Please be tolerant of my opinions without calling me stupid.  We live in America and can agree to disagree.  I want you to know that I forgive you!  Isn't that what Jason Collins would want me to do?

sgttrunk
sgttrunk

 I believe most medical professionals would agree with me. No one should feel shame for the condition because they can't help what they are.  I hope he has the inner strength to resist the temptation of sin thru abstinence.  To give into the sin is to play Russian Roulette with your life.  I hope he gets the counseling he desperately needs. 

 

AaronDunckel
AaronDunckel

 @Mark Stephens  @RobertM  @AaronDunckel judging by your pathetic attempt to insult other people without even responding to the post, I'd say its easily you who are having trouble "wiping cleanly" - grow up, put away the 12 year old insults, child

Mark Stephens
Mark Stephens

 @RobertM  @AaronDunckel  

Are you guys smoking the crack you are selling?  Geez, comparing people that don't approve of gays, or barkely to Bin Laden.  I'm really glad that they give you 'special' people computers to use in your half-way house.  I bet everyone is so proud that you've learned to wipe your butt with-out getting it on your hand.  Good job.