Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is the latest former player to chime in on the impact of Jason Collins's coming-out last week. Barkley, who is now a sports analyst for TNT, was on The Dan Patrick Show and told the host that everyone playing in the NBA has "played with a gay teammate."
When Patrick asks Barkley if he's played with a gay teammate during his NBA career, the athlete is candid. "Yeah, of course I did!" Barkley says. "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 they're trying to pick up on their teammates. But everybody's played with a gay teammate."
He adds that coming out as Jason Collins did is still difficult for players, so many athletes who are gay are sort of open secrets. "I think that it's obviously discussed privately because the problem is, Dan, unless somebody tells you they're gay, you can't say anything about them being gay. 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 asks if he specifically has had teammates discuss being gay with him. "I've had several teammates," Barkley adds. "I've probably had three or four guys I've played with in 16 years."
Watch the entire episode at The Dan Patrick Show.