Retired NBA Player: Homosexuality Doesn’t Belong In A Men’s Locker Room

Former New York Knick Larry Johnson

Despite the incredible outpouring of support for NBA player Jason Collins after he came out on Monday, there were still some negative responses. A series of Tweets from former NBA All-Star Larry Johnson, who still works as a business operations representative for the New York Knicks, was particularly revealing about how some players may respond to playing beside someone who is gay. Johnson’s opposition to homosexuality seems to be at least partially motivated by his Islamic faith, but also reflects some general insecurities players may have in the locker room:

Johnson’s concerns about nudity in the locker rooms reflect an archaic stereotype of gay men as predatory, though he’s likely not alone in having this concern. By reducing a player to assumptions about his sexuality, this line of reasoning ignores his ability to contribute to the team. Even Johnson seems to realize that his argument reflects his own insecurities, not the intentions of a gay teammate in the locker room:

This same argument was at the core of opposition to repealing the military’s, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual servicemembers. Conservative outlet CNS News once tried to confront Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) about the shower issue, and he pointed out that gay people shower with straight people all the time everyday. He also countered with this question: “Do you think that gyms should have separate showers for gay and straight people?” Similarly, if Johnson believes homosexuality does not belong in a men’s locker room, it’s unclear what option is left for gay men. Watch the classic interview with Frank: