"First of all, every player has played with gay guys. It bothers me when I hear these reporters and jocks get on TV and say: 'Oh, no guy can come out in a team sport. These guys would go crazy.' First of all, quit telling me what I think. I'd rather have a gay guy who can play than a straight guy who can't play."
Charles Barkley, a famously outspoken sports commentator and former NBA player, telling the Washington Post what he thinks of the coverage that's being given to Rick Welts, the President of the Phoenix Suns who publicly came forward as gay last weekend. (Washington Post)
Barkley added that he has known gay players on two of the three teams on which he played, and that he's been a supporter of gay marriage for years. Barkley also criticized "bible thumpers," a criticism that he's expressed in public with before.
ESPN, in fact, covers gay athletic issues with some frequency -- usually in an encouraging way while focusing in on the controversial aspects. Some of the cable sports channel's coverage in recent years has included Steve Buckley, John Amaechi, Lisa Howe, and the late Brendan Burke. Just yesterday, they spoke with Will Sheridan and have also talked recently about gay marriage supporters Sean Avery and Brendan Ayanbadejo (of the Baltimore Ravens) and detractors like Tim Hardaway.
Here's a clip from ESPN's "Outside the Lines" with Brendon Ayanbadejo expressing his support for gay-marriage this week: