Former NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire has come under fire after suggesting he would avoid a teammate if he found out he was gay.
The ex- New York Knicks forward, who joined Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball Club in 2016, told Israeli news site Walla Sport, that he would be uncomfortable around a homosexual teammate.
The news site interviewed multiple Israeli basketball players on their thoughts on having a gay player on their team.
‘I’m going to shower across the street, make sure my change of clothes are around the corner,’ Stoudemire said.
‘And I’m going to drive…take a different route to the gym,’ he added.
When the reporter asked the 34-year-old if his comments were in jest, Stoudemire said: ‘I mean, there’s always a truth within a joke.’
Other players interviewed said a homosexual teammate would not bother them.
‘No, I don’t have a problem with it at all,’ one said. Another said a gay teammate would not be an issue if ‘as long as he didn’t mess’ with him.
Ex-NBA player, and openly gay athlete, John Amaechi has slammed Stoudemire for his homophobic comments.
‘These are serious times and we need serious people to lead important conversations, not petulant man-children spouting puerile prejudice,’ Amaechi told TMZ Sports.
‘There is already one too many of those holding court in the media, and the world is poorer for it. Within the world of sport there are plenty of true role models, on and off the floor, whose words are carefully chosen to uplift and integrate society not join Trump and his grinning cabal in their ‘locker room banter.’
‘In these tumultuous times, these true role models are the men and women whose voices we need to disseminate to every corner, not a braying jacka** making a desperate grab for relevance amongst a constituency destined for extinction.
‘Lastly, could someone please tell this man to stop flattering himself. It’s embarrassing.’
In 2012, Stoudemire was ordered to pay $50,000 after tweeting a gay slur at another user during the Knicks off-season.
He later addressed the incident in a statement and apologized to his fans, ESPN reported.
‘I am a huge supporter of civil rights for all people,’ he said.
‘I am disappointed in myself for my statement to a fan. I should have known better and there is no excuse.’