Charles Barkley, who’s been a vocal supporter of the LGBT community for some time now, celebrated Jason Collins’ coming out announcement last night on TNT’s Inside The NBA.
“I think it’s a huge deal. I’m excited for Jason,” said Sir Barkley. “I’m happy that he gets to be himself. Listen, we’ve all played with gay players. Everybody works with gay players. I think deep down everybody has a family member who is gay, depending on how deep down you want to reach into your family.”
“Kenny [Smith] talks about it all the time. Us, being black, we’ve got to always be for tolerance. I never went through what the great Bill Russell,Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jim Brown and all of those guys went through. But just thinking about it, it had to be horrific. So we got to always be for tolerance and acceptance.”
Barkley also expressed empathy for those that don’t agree, asking that they not be vilified:
“I think the one thing I want to see come out of this conversation though, to be honest with you, is … some people are not going to like this. I think they should have the right to express that. We should not crucify them. I disagree with them and it’s alright to disagree. But we live in this thing right now where anybody who comes out against this is going to be crucified. And I think that’s unfair.”