Charles Barkley has always made a ton of sense when talking about gay players in the NBA, saying for example that "every player has played with gay guys." So I was very interested to hear his take on the openly gay Jason Collins still being unsigned. He did not disappoint in this wide-ranging Q&A with Sports Illustrated:
SI.com: Why has Jason Collins not yet been signed?
Barkley: I think [the question] is a little unfair because he was on the downside of his career. I'm hoping someone picks him up, but to say nobody has picked him up because he is gay is really unfair. He was on his last legs as it was. It's an interesting situation because if you are a veteran team that needs six fouls and has a chance to win a championship, OK, maybe [you sign him]. Or he can mentor some young guy who has real potential but had some stuff going on, like a DeMarcus Cousins. Unless you are a championship contender and need a big body who can give you six fouls a game, it is not like he's averaging a bunch of points.
SI.com: For any team that signs him, how much of a media circus would it be?
Barkley: That's a great question. I don't know if it would be a circus. It would be more about how the fans would react. The players would be cool with it. I'd want to see how the fans would react.
For the record, I think the vast majority of fans would cheer Collins and if any used gay slurs towards him, they'd be set upon by other fans. I don't know why he doesn't have a team yet, but the season has just started and there is time.
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