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Quote of the Day: Charles Barkley on gay professional athletes

May 17, 2011, 5:39 PM EDT

Charles Barkley

This isn’t baseball-specific, but since we’ve talked about this stuff before, I think the quote is fair game.  Here’s Charles Barkley talking in this morning’s Washington Post about how professional athletes would — or at the very least should — receive a gay athlete on their team:

“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.

I still maintain that the biggest issue facing a ballplayer who came out would not be their teammates — for the reason Barkley suggests — and would not be the haters, because they would be quickly shouted down for the Neanderthals they are.

No, the biggest problem would be the positive or, at the very least, curious media hype that would surround it.  The player would be asked to do so many interviews and personal appearances, mostly by non-sports media, that it would create a way bigger headache than the anti-gay stuff would. By far.

  1. IdahoMariner - May 17, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    wow. This is, lemme count…..the…8th, yeah, no, 9th, yeah, 9th time I’ve totally agreed with the words that have come out of Charles Barkley’s mouth. And to have it be so refreshingly reasonable, straightforward, and non-grand-standy? Bonus. Go, Charles. You tell ’em.

  2. mightymike1250 - May 17, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Well, first of all, why did Chuck say, “First of all” twice? Shouldn’t he have said, “First of all,” then “Second of all?” If you say “First of all” then follow it with another “First of all,” how are we supposed to know which “First of all” is really first of all?

    • The Baseball Idiot - May 17, 2011 at 7:06 PM

      I finally understand the definition of pedantic.

      • scatterbrian - May 17, 2011 at 7:38 PM

        Hmmm I agree as well. Shallow and pedantic.

    • tomemos - May 17, 2011 at 11:53 PM

      For the record, I like the pedantry, though I’m an English teacher.

  3. gvots - May 17, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Craig, there’s no way that pic of Chuck is even remotely recent. Not enough bloat.

  4. hawknut - May 17, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    I am an athlete and being a homo is a 100% no no. No one and I mean no one wants those guys in the locker room. Keep it to yourself and go about your business. Always has been, always will be. No amount of whining will change that fact and college and pro athletes know that is the truth.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - May 17, 2011 at 7:58 PM

      I was a D1 athlete, and everything you said is 100% wrong. If you don’t want to be around someone because they are gay, that’s fine (personally i believe it’s wrong, but I digress). Just don’t try to pin that idea on everyone else who played a sport.

      Oh and btw, here’s a great story from about the first openly gay rugby player. He worried that everyone would be like you. Fortunately for him most of his teammates were far more understanding.

    • nixonotis - May 17, 2011 at 8:11 PM

      You’re an athlete, eh? Funny, I was looking for another word…

    • heynerdlinger - May 17, 2011 at 8:14 PM

      “Always has been, always will be”

      Guess again.

  5. TheWizard - May 17, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    “the Neanderthals they are” ?

    Pop culture’s idea of tolerance. Love it.

    • kopy - May 17, 2011 at 9:16 PM

      I was thinking the same thing to tell you the truth. I respect someone’s civil right to be a homosexual just like I respect someone’s civil right to believe in a religion that is intolerant of homosexuals. The neanderthal comment is a low blow in my opinion. And, for the record, I agree with Barkley 100%, and I support the gay rights movement.

      • Old Gator - May 17, 2011 at 10:53 PM

        Nothing low about it at all. Neanderthals had a cranial capacity not much less than Homo sapiens. These bigots have cranial capacities closer to the bean-sized brain of a sauropod.

      • kopy - May 18, 2011 at 12:38 PM

        You lost me at the part where you implied that it’s okay to tolerate people of a different sexual orientation than mine, but not okay to tolerate people of a different religion than mine.

  6. fonetiklee - May 18, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    I care about a pro athlete being gay as much as I care about anybody else on this planet being gay: not at all. Just play some good ball, that’s all I care about.

    • cktai - May 18, 2011 at 5:48 AM

      I care about my significant other being gay or not. Other then that, I agree fully.

  7. kcroyal - May 18, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    Oh so you’re gay? GREAT!

    more skanks for me.

    But seriously anyone that can’t accept homosexuals are probably republicans anyways, who cares?

  8. kappy32 - May 18, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    Let me begin by saying I am neither a supporter nor a detractor of the Gay Rights Movement. However, the Neanderthal comment was a low blow. Just as people are allowed to overtly support the homosexual movement, people should be allowed to oppose it without being labeled. Regardless of what people say, it is a lifestyle choice; it’s not genetic. This is not as simple as someone being born black or white. Also, homosexuals have not been denied the right to vote, use public restrooms or eat at specific restaurants. For those reasons, the Gay Rights Movement cannot and should not be voiced in the same breath as the Women’s Suffrage Movement or the Black Civil Rights Movement. Homosexuals are merely denied marital rights, which have been derived from the early days of this Country when Church & State were intertwined. For these reasons, the detractors of the Gay Rights Movement have a sound platform to voice the concerns whether that platform is a religious one, a legal one or a moral one. Simply because someone does not agree with what the minority in this country wants does not make them a “Neanderthal.”

    Nevertheless, Barkley is right. There is much more tolerance today. I couldn’t care if a player was gay, just put up numbers. My problem is when a player or celebrity uses their status to unintelligently voice their opinion. Play your game & let our lawmakers do their jobs.

    • dprat - May 18, 2011 at 3:43 AM

      @ kappy32: “Regardless of what people say, it is a lifestyle choice; it’s not genetic.”

      Sorry, no. Although genetics aren’t the whole picture, the scientific evidence is clear that genetics are an important component in sexual orientation. In addition, virtually everyone, whether gay, straight, or bisexual, agrees that their sexual orientation was not a choice.

      These facts are well-established. If you insist on clinging to some older, prescientific notions, especially when you put them to use to deny people basic rights (e.g., the pursuit of happiness) that otherwise cost you nothing, than you have entirely earned the tag “Neanderthal.” Congrats.

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 18, 2011 at 5:38 AM

      1. Please tell me when you decided to be straight; and

      2. Please tell me how you’d feel if you were not allowed to marry the woman you love.

    • cktai - May 18, 2011 at 5:46 AM

      There is a common misperception that when something is not genetic, it is a lifestyle choice, thereby completely ignoring the “nurture” aspect of human development. There are plenty of things that are fundamentally part of human beings which is not only genetically determined, but also a result of prenatal development and social upbringing such as your length, athleticism, phobias, health and sexual preference. You cannot claim that these are lifestyle choices just because we cannot point to specific genes.

      Furthermore we as a society have determined that homosexuality is part of who a person is, rather then something a person does (like was thought up to the mid 20th century), so stating that being gay is a lifestyle choice is far worse then calling someone a neanderthal, since the latter is just an insult, while the former denies part of someones fundamental being.

    • ahealthyscratch - May 18, 2011 at 7:55 AM

      ” Homosexuals are merely denied marital rights, which have been derived from the early days of this Country when Church & State were intertwined. ”

      Funny. In my classes as a history major I seem to remember guys named Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson not being particularly religious and wanting to keep church and state separate from the very start.

      • paperlions - May 18, 2011 at 8:29 AM

        Weren’t very successful were they? Laws have always existed based on religious precepts that restricted rights of citizens. In my state, you still can not buy alcohol on Sunday, you still can’t hunt on Sunday, religious observances are official state holidays in every state (not for all religions, just the Christians ones), all our legal tender trusts in some god (it isn’t specific which one).
        In any case, when a large portion of your populace is superstitious, you can’t keep that superstition from shaping law.

      • mckludge - May 18, 2011 at 8:51 AM

        “you still can not buy alcohol on Sunday” – very few states/counties still have blue laws. I have no problem buying alcohol on Sunday here in FL.

        “can’t hunt on Sunday” – I’m not a hunter, but according to FL’s web site, there are no day restrictions.

        “religious observances are official state holidays in every state” – The only religious holiday in FL is Christmas. Easter is not an official holiday. All others are secular. In fact, there are more warfare based holidays (Ind. day, Mem. day, Vet. day) than religious ones.

      • indyralph - May 18, 2011 at 9:55 AM

        There are 49 other states in the country, believe it or not. Mine still has blue laws, and I’m pretty sure I live in a different state than paperlions. And although Christmas has become quite secular, I foresee having a difficult time convincing Christians that it is not a religious holiday.

      • umrguy42 - May 18, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        I remember from my history classes that the idea was that while yes, religion shouldn’t influence the state, the idea was also that the state shouldn’t be infringing on my right to practice my religion (if any).

      • jdvolk - May 24, 2011 at 2:49 PM

        I have no problem with legal gay marriages. My problem is with the “seperation of church and state”. Neither Jefferson nor Franklin ever visioned a future where “God” could not be mentioned in school or on public buildings and statues. Soon, even our currency could be God-less. What our Founding Fathers did desire was a government in which the church officials were not the deciding factor in major government decisions such as going to war, raising taxes and who would be the King. It is impossible for a government that is based on Christian values to not make decisions that are inspired by those values. I am not a history major, but I feel that I have a good understanding of the Constitution and our Founding Fathers. They did not want God out, they wanted the church out! Sidenote to the currency issue: I asked a Muslim friend if he was offended by “God” on our money and he said “Your God is the same God as mine”.

    • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 8:46 AM

      Its not a choice. Its they way you’re born. Plenty of studies bear that out but even simple logic works without resorting to an MRI.

      One of my nephews is gay. We’ve talked about it a bit and he described years of trying not to be. It sounded just awful for him. It clearly was not a “choice” he made.

      Since he’s caucasian and I’m not we had a common theme to fall back on; why would anyone deliberately go out and try to make their social life harder, reduce the rights they would ordinarily have, risk alienating many family members, harm their job prospects, be the subject of hateful remarks and live a life where you under a microscope for your actions?

      It very much was as though he’d been born black 50 or 60 years ago; it wasn’t something the poor boy could help, would change if he could just to fit in with the rules of his society, improve his life in many ways and be accepted wherever he went. Hell, some of that’s even true to this day if you posses more melanin than the average but it seems to be worse if you happen to be gay.

      A gay pro athlete would have to be a total fool to ‘choose’ a life like that. Since they don’t choose it, it shouldn’t be held against them.

  9. Jonny 5 - May 18, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    Charles Barkley is right on this. As a matter of fact there are know cases in which what he said would happen, already happened. I’m also pretty sure Barkley, being he has strong Philly roots also knows of the case of Will Sheridan who played for Villanova at the time. Quotes from his roommate and coach.

    That night that he told Nardi, his teammate didn’t recoil or walk out of the room. He didn’t ask for a new roommate.

    He made a joke.

    “I just said, ‘Don’t go putting a hit on me or sniffing my underwear or nothing,'” Nardi said. “I mean I was surprised because it was new to me. I had never really experienced anything like that, but it’s not like it mattered. I don’t know. I mean we were friends. Who cares?”

    Evidence of the team’s unity and comfort lies in one simple nugget: Jay Wright never knew his starting power forward was gay until after Sheridan graduated.

    No one ever went to him with a complaint or a worry. No one even bothered to tell him.

    “After I found out, I was like, ‘Did you know?’ And all the guys, they were like, ‘Yeah, Coach, we knew,'” Wright said. “They just didn’t care and I guess I was just oblivious.”

    Oblivious. That’s exactly the word Sheridan used as well. He laughed when trying to explain his basketball-centric coach, making an itty-bitty telescope with his hands to show just how tunneled Wright’s vision was.

    I pulled the quote from another site, that quoted it from the original pc. So I guess it’s fair to link it.

    • Jonny 5 - May 18, 2011 at 8:42 AM

      *known. darned fingers..

  10. Maxa - May 18, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    I’ve wondered why homophobia is so much more of a problem for sports than other areas (music, literature, even politics). Possible explanations:

    (1) Sports naturally involves heightened body-consciousness, which can aggravate sexual issues.
    (2) Sports encourages a culture of machismo, which in turn encourages homophobia.
    (3) Sports fans tend toward conservatism; and conservatism tends toward homophobia.

    I’m most struck by (3). That’s obviously not to say that all sports fans are homophobic conservatives. But I would guess that sports fans are collectively more right-leaning than, say, book enthusiasts, which might explain why a prominent and openly gay author is so much less remarkable than an openly gay sports star.

  11. thefalcon123 - May 18, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    They’re here, they’re queer…get bored with it. I look deeply forward to the day when groups of douchebags stop caring what people do with their genitals behind closed doors and we can all move on to something that matters. And yes, you deserve to be called a Neanderthal if you can’t get over the fact that that dude might not be into pussy. And if you’re argument is that it’s “unnatural”, well, neither are blowjobs. In fact, I propose a constitutional amendment banning marriage for anyone who will engage in oral sex, cause you obviously can’t have a baby that way and God is agin’ it.

  12. metalhead65 - May 18, 2011 at 10:42 AM

    neanderthal?typical tree hugging response when someone expresses a opinion the left disagrees with, all for free speech as long as it is speech that agrees with your view otherwise insult them or worse make them undergo reeducation,I mean sensitivity training so they agree with and do not say anything you might find offensive. just because you are gay does not mean I have to agree it is right and have it shoved in my face. no amount of preaching is going to change my mind on it so just stop.

    • The Common Man/ - May 18, 2011 at 11:03 AM

      I like that you think this issue is all about you, metalhead. Craig’s not arguing against free speech. In fact, I’m sure he would defend your ability to say what you want. But that freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism, and people are allowed to form opinions about you based on what you believe, and express those opinions right back at you. You don’t have to agree that being gay is “right,” and I can therefore believe that you are a bigot and/or an idiot. It’s nice how that works.

    • nixonotis - May 18, 2011 at 11:06 AM

      If we didn’t believe in free speech when it came to opposing points of view, your post could be deleted and none of us would have to waste our time reading something that’s damn near unintelligible.

    • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      Its Craig’s opinion, which he’s entitled too, just like you are yours. No one mentioned freedom of speech till you did and this post isn’t about that in any case. Do try to pay attention, there’s a good chap.

  13. stewartiii - May 18, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    NewsBusters: Cheers for Charles Barkley Bashing ‘Them Bible-Thumpers’

  14. metalhead65 - May 18, 2011 at 11:57 AM


    • wlschneider09 - May 18, 2011 at 12:09 PM

      Using all caps is really gay….

      • metalhead65 - May 18, 2011 at 12:23 PM

        be careful using that term in any way other than indicating one’s sexual preference could be considered offensive.

    • nixonotis - May 18, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      But, dude, we don’t have a “stand on gayness,” we are simply advocating tolerance of all people. Listen: I don’t have any desire to have sex with a man or to watch such an act occur, but I also don’t think someone should be vilified for a lifestyle choice and I don’t HATE homosexuals or those who support them. You, on the other hand, seem to have plenty of built up hatred to spread around.

      • metalhead65 - May 18, 2011 at 12:21 PM

        the only thing I hate is being told that what I think is wrong an my view needs to be the same as everybody else’s. I don’t care if they are gay or not what I care about is having it flaunted and told that it is ok and that I must accept it by tree huggers who embrace everything except opinions and beliefs that are different than thiers.

      • The Common Man/ - May 18, 2011 at 1:19 PM

        Nobody’s saying you have to believe anything, metalhead. What I said above (I won’t speak for anyone else) is that I’m then free to tell you what a numbskull I think you are because of what you believe. Especially when you can’t back up your beliefs with anything approaching good reasons. But please, feel free to feel persecuted. Perhaps it will help you identify with teh gayz.

    • paperlions - May 18, 2011 at 12:26 PM

      All opinions aren’t created equal, some are informed and well considered whereas others are not. If you think people choose their sexuality, then your opinion is uninformed, by definition, because all information indicates that no one makes such a choice.

    • thefalcon123 - May 18, 2011 at 2:00 PM

      I want to kiss your mouth to stop you from saying such ridiculous things.

      Umm…yes, wishing to deny rights to people based an an arbitrary bit of nonsense is the exact definition of a bigot.

      Thirdly, supporters of gay rights also supported Bin Laden? That’s odd. I’m no terrorist expect, but I’m pretty certain that dude was not down with the gays.

    • cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 4:47 PM

      metal; You make almost no sense, you know that, right? A few facts you might want to consider before going off all persecuted like;

      The day after Seal Team 6 aced his a$$ we were pretty much in favor of OBL being knocked off. What we were against was doing something barbaric with his body. There were some dissenting opinions about the burial at sea but few people stooped to name calling and such. Well, except for a certain misspelled arm muscle but that’s his M O regardless of topic.

      No one’s telling you to shut up. We just disagree with you. You seem to feel free to post here and accept that as your right. Well its our right to post here, too, and disagreeing with you is not only a duty it is in fact an unmitigated pleasure. I won’t call you a Neanderthal, for that would besmirch the good name of our long extinct hominid cousins, but I shall call you a narrow minded fool with likely unresolved sexual issues. And you can neither spell or manage semi-correct grammar.

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