It’s becoming harder by the day to stand up for the Round Mound Of Rebound.  Though he’s had some reasonable things to say in the wake of John Amaechi’s coming out —- reminding a number of audiences that he’s played with gay teammates, has “lots of gay friends,” (just like Madonna!) there have also been some puzzlers.

In today’s LA Times, Barkley characterized Tim Hardaway to Larry Stewart as “ignorant and stupid,” but added “”It might be OK to say you disagree with that lifestyle, but to say you hate a whole group of people is just plain ignorant.”

Memo to Sir Charles :  NASCAR is a lifestyle.

On “SportsCenter” this evening, Barkley continue his critique of Hardaway, though not without asking “the thing that really bothers me is when all these celebrities have to announce they’re gay. Who needs to know?”

Given that their doing so might provide some badly needed support for those who haven’t come out —- in a world in which Tim Hardaway feels perfectly justified saying “I hate gay people” on the radio — it’s unfortunate the Chuckster thinks this is all about publicity.