Asked about having a gay teammate, Amar’e Stoudemire said: “I’m going to shower across the street. Make sure my change of clothes are around the corner. And I’m going to drive — take a different route to the gym.”
Stoudemire, who starred for the Suns and Knicks and now plays in Israel, was even asked whether he was joking. Instead of diffusing the situation, he dug his hole deeper by saying, “There’s always a truth within a joke.”
And now comes the inevitable apology.
Stoudemire in a statement, via Eurohoops.net:
I want to apologize for my offensive comments against the LGBT community. These remarks were taken from a larger interview where a reporter was asking me hypothetical questions, and all my answers had a comedic undertone. The answers I gave were meant to be taken as jokes & I am deeply sorry for offending anyone. I am open to creating a dialogue to assist the fight the LGBT community encounters daily and will continue focus on playing basketball”
There might be a time and place for that type of joke, but it wasn’t appropriate for a broad audience of strangers — the exact group who’d see Stoudemire’s interview. Simply echoing misguided fears about a persecuted minority isn’t funny with no other context, and there was no other context here. Stoudemire wasn’t joking with old friends who knew his true feelings. He was speaking to the world.
It’s good Stoudemire apologized, but how many people already heard and internalized his harmful “jokes” based on the idea of all gay people being sexual predators? Stoudemire can’t completely walk this back with merely a statement.