New York Times - The former NBA player Amar’e Stoudemire has caused a stir with his response to a hypothetical question about having a gay teammate.
Stoudemire, now playing in Israel, told Walla Sport: “I’m going to shower across the street. I’m going to make sure my change of clothes are around the corner, and I’m going to take a different route to the gym.”
Asked if he was joking, he said, “I mean, there’s always a truth within a joke.”
Any potential chance of an NBA comeback for the 34-year-old just suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound with the former All-NBA 1st Teamer taking his own career in his hands Tuesday when a raw and unrehearsed segment titled ‘Would You Have a Problem with a Gay Teammate?’ suddenly went rogue.
Not really sure what Stoudemire was thinking here, but you have to assume he wasn't thinking at all. You can tell he had a slight grin on his face, but whether he was going with some outdated crude ‘Locker Room Talk’, or thought the video was going to be viewed strictly by middle school boys at a sleepover, Stoudemire’s bizarrely honest and strangely spontaneous choice of homophobic words with the camera rolling makes you wonder what he wanted the listener to get out of his response.
And what was the point of this segment? It almost seems like the people directing these interviews were giving these athletes some sort of challenge, testing them to see who could think on their heels the fastest with the most politically correct and society approved response possible, secretly hoping they'd be baited into an outlandish comment they could run with... and boy did they ever get one.
Did the team cosign on this? Did they know their own players would be getting asked such culturally charged topics? Sure, it seems like this particular question offered such an obvious response of 'No, I would not have a problem with a gay teammate', but sometimes under uncomfortable pressure and duress, people say things that'll later deeply regret, and you almost get the unfortunate sense these interviewers knew that, wanting an off-color remark from an occupation with a deep history of them.
Stoudemire has since apologized, saying: ‘I am a huge supporter of civil rights for all people. I am disappointed in myself for my statement to a fan. I should have known better and there is no excuse’, but the damage was already done with large media outlets quickly moving in on the damning soundbite.