Yup. Usually it's when somebody is defending racist or homophobic remarks that they say the cliche "I can't be racist/homophobic because my best friend is black/gay." But in this context he's saying simply that he skates with a lot of gay skaters, and they should have the right to compete and not worry just like any other athlete.
The difference between what Ashley Wagner said and what Patrick Chan said is that Ashley spoke disapprovingly of anti-gay laws in Russia. Chan did not. No one is threatening to ban gay athletes from competing in Sochi, so Patrick's remarks are kind of irrelevant to the real issue. Here are Patrick's views on the bigger question.
I'm sure it doesn't bother Asians. It is the talent and the hardworking that have made the rest of the world see Asians differently from over 100 years ago. Now Asians are on the risen not because they run around protesting and fighting everywhere for the rights but because they are willing to sacrifice the leisure time and work so hard. They earned places by their talent and hardworking.
^ The problem is, why would anyone think that his friend's Asian-ness might conceivably "bother" someone? The very fact that the question is raised at all indicates a perception that there is something not quite Kosher about being Asian.
As for Patrick, he's a credit to his race -- not that there's anything wrong with it.
Patrick was just so untactfully laid out the fact.
There are many ways to support a cause or a subset of people. Loudly and openly demanding rights is just one of them. For most people, including those within the group fighting for rights, probably the best is to live a life that shows they are no different from the majority other than the one difference being focused on, be it race or sexual orientation, or better yet to excel and succeed better than the general population or to support such rights and opportunities as Patrick does. In doing so, more and more people will realize and eventually acknowledge the equality. In Patrick's case, he is choosing to focus on the competition but his statement that some of the gay skaters are his best friends (not some of his best friends are gay) is for the general readers because most skating fans already know he has always been close with some fellow skaters who are gay and gay skaters are among those he has declared as his inspiration whom he looks up to the most. He chooses to support them by treating them with respect in his whole life instead of voicing strongly on one issue during a period of time he wants and needs to focus on a major goal of his life.
The are many causes each person can choose to support and each person should have the right to support each cause in ways that s/he sees fit.
^ All quite true. It's just that...doggone it, Patrick should be better at these interviews after all these years of practice. We once praised his "refreshing boyish candor." But he's not a boy any more.