Former NBA great and current TNT announcer Charles Barkley said American society is more homophobic than locker rooms in the NBA.
He made those comments on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” after Jason Collins came out on Monday in a Sports Illustrated article.
He said Collins will “be at peace in the locker room” and “jocks have gotten a bad rap” for supposedly being homophobic.
Barkley said gay players will feel “safe in the locker room” because “we’ve all played with gays guys” and “we’re going to welcome them with open arms.”
In other sports, like football, athletes have gone on record to say gay players may not be welcomed in locker rooms. San Francisco cornerback Chris Culliver, for instance, made such remarks in the week leading up to the Super Bowl.
Barkley also said some players and Christians may feel uncomfortable with gay people, and they should not be “crucified” for expressing their feelings as well.
The former player who has never been shy about giving his opinions also said it is an “insult” to gay people to say they will be looking at their teammates “in a sexual way.”
Barkley also acknowledged that if Collins, a journeyman role player, did not land with a team next season, the NBA should not be labeled as “homophobic.”