Charles Barkley, the former NBA star who has made outrageous comments in the past
, had an uncharacteristically tame response to the revelation that NBA center Jason Collins is gay and discussed what he thinks of players who come out in the league.
Barkley went on Dan Patrick's radio show Tuesday to discuss the matter.
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"Everybody played with a gay teammate, Dan. And it’s no big deal," Barkley said. "The problem is that unless someone tells you they [are] 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 kinda an unspoken word to be honest with you."
Collins became the first U.S. athlete in a major professional sport to come out as gay.
Barkley said several players confided in him during his career about their sexualities.
"I probably had three or four guys I played with in 16 years," Barkley said. "Think about Jason Collins. He played on six teams, so six teams played with a gay guy. And so, everybody has played with a gay guy, you just didn’t know he was a gay guy. 'Cause until a gay guy comes out, it’s none of your business."
Barkley concluded the interview by wishing Collins goodwill, one of many high-profile people to do so
, including President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
"It's none of our business, I know we live in a nosey society, but I wish the kid the best," said Barkley. "As a black man, I'm always inclusive, whether you're white, black, Hispanic, Jewish, just an ass like you can be sometimes Dan. I'm inclusive."
Collins publicly announced his sexuality
on Sports Illustrated's website on April 29.
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Collins, 34, has been in the NBA for 12 seasons and is presently a free agent. He was released by the Washington Wizards at the end of last season.
Collins says he wants to continue playing basketball, The Associated Press reported.
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