On Sunday, former NBA forward Amar’e Stoudemire received the MLK Jr. Award for tolerance in Jerusalem. Two days, later an interview with Israel’s Walla Sport revealed that Stoudemire would avoid a gay teammate.
“I’m going to shower across the street, make sure my change of clothes are around the corner,” he said. “And I’m going to drive – take a different route to the gym.”
Stoudemire’s homophobic comments have been met with strong resistance from two of the NBA’s prominent voices for equality. Jason Collins, who was the first active NBA player to announce he is gay, questioned Stoudemire’s MLK Jr. award after the interview was made public.
The award statement read:
“Amar’e Stoudemire was awarded Sunday with the Martin Luther King Jr. Award by the State of Israel, Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. The honor is bestowed annually in celebration of Black History Month to individuals who embody the spirit and ideals of Dr. King through their efforts to promote diversity and tolerance.”
John Amaechi, who was the first former NBA player to come out publicly, also tweeted a rebuke of Stoudemire’s comments.
Amaechi last played for the Utah Jazz in 2003, and Collins retired in 2014.
Stoudemire was fined $50,000 in 2012 for tweeting a gay slur as a member of the Knicks. At that time, he issued an apology.
Now playing for Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli Basketball Premier League, Stoudemire has yet to apologize for the comments.
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