Barkley speaks out in support of Sam, says public 'more homophobic' than players
FEB 18, 2014 12:09a ET
Charles Barkley once famously declared as part of an ad campaign, "I am not a role model."
But with Michael Sam having come out earlier this month, and with gay rights currently one of the nation's most hot-button issues, after what Barkley did on Monday night, it will be difficult for him not to be a role model for a lot of people.
In a satellite interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the Hall of Famer spoke out in support of gay rights, specifically gays in sports, saying:
"I think it's an insult to gay people to think that they are going to be looking at their teammates in a sexual way. That's an insult to all gay men. And we welcome them to the locker room, and I wish Mr. Sam the best."
He then said that gay couples deserve the same benefits, "as other men and women couples."
When asked by Blitzer how Barkley believed an openly gay player would be received in an NBA locker room, Barkley said:
"I think they're going to be safe with their teammates. I think the public at large is more homophobic than guys in the locker room. I think we as players get a bad rap."
Of course, Sir Charles being Sir Charles, Barkley also referred to Facebook and Twitter as, "that social media crap."
This isn't the first time Barkley has spoken out about the locker room culture in recent days. When the Wells Report was released last week, detailing the findings of an investigation into the Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito bullying incident, Barkley was widely quoted as saying:
"The locker room is racist, homophobic and sexist. And I miss it."
Clearly, these latest words strike a different chord. And early returns on Twitter were certainly in favor of Barkley.
This also isn't the first time Barkley has spoken out in favor of gay rights, doing so repeatedly for nearly a decade.
In 2011, the now-50-year-old television analyst invoked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when speaking on the topic, saying, "His daughter [Rev. Bernice King] said something that was very interesting. People try to make it about black and white. [But MLK] talked about equality for every man, every woman. We have a thing going on now, people discriminating against homosexuality in this country. I love the homosexuality people. God bless the gay people. They are great people."