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Hall Of Famer: Gay Athletes Face Old Questions

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File photo of Bill Russell. (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

File photo of Bill Russell. (credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — NBA Hall of Famer Bill Russell says gay athletes’ fight for equality and acceptance reminds him of the struggles black players faced in the 1960s.

Russell, who won 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, joined NFL Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown during a panel discussion Wednesday at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin. The library is hosing events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.

Russell and Brown, who are black, were key figures as athletes and leaders during the civil rights era.

Russell says questions about whether gay athletes can be good teammates or might disrupt locker rooms are the same questions that black athletes heard back then.

Russell says he’d have one question about a gay teammate: Can he play?

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