On 17 May, Washington Post columnist Mike Wise published a report about an interview he conducted with Charles Barkley in which Mr. Wise described Mr. Barkley’s views about the unnecessary focus on sexual orientation in professional team sports. According to Mr. Wise, “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.
There’s lots to recommend Mr. Wise’s column. Go read it. Thank you, Mr. Wise. Thank you, Mr. Barkley. Let’s get past this and play the game. How about Dirk Nowitzki’s line from Tuesday night? He made 12 of 15 from the field and 24 of 24 from the line, and he had 6 boards, 4 assists, and 4 blocks!