In a phone interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, NBA legend Charles Barkley railed against Bible-believing "rednecks" for not being honest and simply admitting they hate gay people.
Upset over the latest religious freedom law in Indiana, Barkley claimed he was standing up against discrimination. "What's next?" he asked. Then he pondered if a Muslim customer will be next to face discrimination or perhaps a member of the military being denied service because a business owner is against war.
Barkley insisted that the religious freedom law "came after gay people" -- not the other way around. "This is just about discrimination," he insisted.
"They're not trying to trick you into their gay lifestyle," Barkley added. "They just want flowers."
Then, Barkley showed what it's like to not have a discriminatory bone in one's body:
Typical of the South, where I'm from, all these rednecks hide behind the Bible. That's what they do. That's one of the reasons the South is behind in everything. They always hide behind the Bible. It's strictly discrimination. They have selective amnesia. They just don't like gay people. I wish they would just say that.
Barkley did say that people have the right to be against same-sex marriage, but it can't be turned into a law.
Stating that cash speaks the loudest in America, the former NBA star stood behind his earlier statements asking for the removal of the Final Four and Super Bowl events from Indiana if the law isn't repealed.
Barkley said that it is "asinine" to think that discrimination against blacks can't be equated with discrimination against homosexuals. That brought him to the subject of race and to make the claim that black voices and gay voices are largely absent from these discussions:
We got all these straight people -- we got some of these religious nut jobs, I might add -- we got all straight people discussing gay problems, issues. That's why the system is wrong. That's like a bunch of white guys sitting around trying to make laws for black people.
Cuomo suggested that you don't have to be homosexual or black to have concerns about discrimination or to sit at the table and make laws concerning them. But Barkley felt differently:
America has always had a racial problem. Now we have a homophobic problem. Yes, we do have to be at the table. A white guy might like me, he might be my friend, but he don't know what it's like to be black and I don't know what it's like to be gay. So if I want a gay opinion, shouldn't I ask a gay person to the table?
Barkley ended saying he is very successful in business but is usually the only black person at the meeting. For that matter, he furthered, there's usually only one woman. "That's a perfect segue," he said. "We need more women at the table, we need more black people at the table. It ain't about being racist or sexist, it's just about being fair."
Watch the interview here.