Basketball Hall of Famer Charles
Barkley on Monday spoke out in support of Michael Sam.
Sam, 24, came out last week in
interviews with ESPN and The New York Times. The college
football player is a strong NFL draft prospect. If drafted, Sam
would become the NFL's first openly gay player.
“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,” Barkley told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. “That's an insult
to all gay men. And we welcome them to the locker room, and I wish
Mr. Sam the best.”
When asked how a gay player would be
received in an NBA locker room, Barkley answered: “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.”
Barkley went on to reiterate that gay
and lesbian couples deserve the same benefits as heterosexual
couples. (The video is embedded on this page. Visit
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In 2011, Barkley announced his support
for marriage equality, saying he loves gay people.
Barkley says Martin Luther King supported gay rights.)