Sure, you’ve probably heard about the horrified responses to Charles Barkley insulting take Sunday on the Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas crying over the death of his sister. But did you catch Barkley’s blink-and-you missed it homophobic shot at Kenny Smith?
Barkley took aim at his co-host of TNT’s NBA playoffs coverage after a night of squabbling.
“You need to go rest your voice, man,” Barkley told Smith. “Take the rest of the night off, get some tea, go down to Bulldog’s…”
Smith, like many viewers, had no idea what Bulldog’s is. As its Twitter handle explains, “Bulldogs has been the premiere male gay club in Atlanta for over 30 yrs! Predominantly African American male clientele; however, all races are welcome.”
Here’s the video:
Smith, incidentally, has been married to a woman for 12 years. Barkley’s homophobic gibe was largely overlooked in the outrage over Barkley’s take on Thomas crying for his sister.
“I’m not feeling comfortable with him sitting on the sideline like that, that makes me uncomfortable,” Barkley told the panel. “That tells me he’s not in shape to play. I don’t know how this night is going to turn out, but for him to be sitting on the sideline a few minutes before the game crying … that’s just not a good look in my personal opinion.”
Thomas’ sister, 22-year-old Chyna, died in a single-car wreck in Tacoma, Washington early Saturday. Thomas decided to press on and play in Sunday’s game.
The Bulldogs joke was particularly strange because Barkley has sounded like an LGBT ally in the past: In fact, two Easters Sundays ago, in 2015, he delivered a mini-sermon against an Indiana religious freedom law that critics said gave business a right to discriminate.
“America’s always had a racial problem,” Barkley said on CNN. “Now we have a homophobic problem. Any form of discrimination, you have to check it.”
He added: “I don’t think gay people went out to try to go after [Christians]. They came after gay people. Let’s get that straight. Typically in the South, that’s where I’m from, all of these rednecks hide behind the Bible. That’s one of the reasons the South is behind in everything. They always hide behind the Bible. It’s strictly about discrimination.”