A video clip of basketball great Charles Barkley speaking out in support of the LGBTQ community at an event at a Lake Tahoe resort has gone viral.
The NBA Hall of Famer was quite succinct in his message: “If you are gay or transgender, I love you. And if anybody gives you sh*t, you tell em Charles says ‘f**k you!’”
one time for charles barkley 😤😤pic.twitter.com/EoNSBVPboG
— mike taddow 🆓 (@MikeTaddow) July 15, 2022
The famously outspoken Barkley, 59, has waded into political and social issues on numerous occasions throughout his career.
In recent years, he has expressed concern about the rise of sports gambling, ripped people who declined to get vaccinated, railed against the movement to defund police, and called out both major political parties for failing to improve the living conditions of impoverished minority communities, to name a few.
You may recall back in 2013, Barkley was very vocal in his support for NBA player Jason Collins, who was the first pro basketball player to come out while still active in the league.
In 2014, Sir Barkley didn’t hold back defending NFL player Michael Sam, who came out shortly before the NFL draft.
In 2017, Barkley convinced the NBA to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina because of the state’s so-called “bathroom bill.”
“I hated the ‘bathroom bill,’ ” Barkley told Ellen DeGeneres in an interview. “So I went to my boss and said, ‘Hey boss, I’m gonna sit out of the All-Star Game. I don’t want to to take away from the All-Star Game, but I’m gonna sit out the All-Star Game.’”
“I think anytime you’re Black, you’ve got to stand up for other people,” he added. “Black people know what discrimination is like. If you’re in a position of power, you’ve got to always stand up against discrimination. I’ve been blessed… I’m never going to sit back and let discrimination happen on my watch.”
And last fall, Barkley wore a Carl Nassib jersey on ESPN to commemorate his first game in the NFL as an out gay player.
Those in the LGBTQ community have often found themselves closed off to sports spaces due to their gender or sexuality in what is considered to be a generally masculine hobby.
Having someone of the stature of Charles Barkley speak openly and directly in support of queer people is an awesome thing. When world-class athletes can can use their positions to uplift those in marginalized communities, it shows just how the influence of basketball can be used as a force for good.
— lauren (@NotABigJerk) July 16, 2022
I truly cannot get enough of this clip
— Abe Riesman (girlmode) אבי ריסמן (@abrahamjoseph) July 16, 2022
“Anybody gives you shit, you tell em Charles said Fuck You” Barkley comes out swinging for trans folks https://t.co/nr37FlaO4K
— Niko Stratis (@nikostratis) July 16, 2022