Amar’e Stoudemire makes homophobic comments to Israeli news website

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire made homophobic comments to an Israeli news website two days after receiving an honor in Israel for building bridges among communities.

In an interview with the Hebrew-language news website Walla, Stoudemire and some Hapoel Jerusalem teammates were asked whether they would have a problem with a gay teammate.

The other players indicated it would not be an issue. But Stoudemire, in a response caught on video, 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.”

Asked by the reporter if he were joking, Stoudemire replied that “there’s always a truth within a joke.”

In 2012, Stoudemire was fined $50,000 by the NBA for using a gay slur on Twitter in response to a critical fan.

On Sunday, Stoudemire was presented in Israel with the Martin Luther King Jr. Award from the State of Israel, Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. The award is presented annually in celebration of Black History Month to individuals who embody the spirit and ideals of King through their efforts to promote diversity and tolerance.

In Israel, Stoudemire recently held a basketball peace camp that brought together children from Israel’s Jewish, Arab and Ethiopian communities, and hosted his annual “In the Paint” series, which allows young people to explore their creative talents through art and basketball.

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