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Tim Hardaway: 'I hate gay people'


“Well, you know, I hate gay people. I let it be known, I don’t like gay people. I don’t like to be around gay people. Yeah, I’m homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world for that or in the United States for that. So, yeah, I don’t like it.”
— the former Miami Heat guard doesn’t hold back (audio clip here)

This level of homophobia is outlandish. How insecure must former NBA star Tim Hardaway be about his masculinity to feel threatened by the thought of playing on a team with someone gay. His feelings are so strong that he would ask to be traded rather than play alongside someone he knew to be gay.

A week after retired center John Amaechi became the first active or former NBA player to publicly acknowledge he was gay, one of the most popular players in Heat franchise history offered a blunt view on homosexuality Wednesday during a radio interview.

Former Heat guard Tim Hardaway, who had been making public appearances for the NBA, said on Miami-based 790 The Ticket he would not have tolerated a gay player on his team and would have asked to have been traded in such a situation or would have asked to have the gay teammate be traded.

…Hardaway was asked if his opinion would be different if a top-level teammate acknowledged being gay.

If he were that great, something would still have to give,” he said. “People would feel uncomfortable with that. If you’re not gay, nobody in that locker room would feel comfortable with that person on your team.”

Let’s see, something would “have to give” if, say, an in-his-prime legend like Dr. J., Magic Johnson or Wilt Chamberlain happened to be gay and was on his team.

I hate to say it Tim, but you probably did play with homos on your team; and for god’s sake, you played for Miami and still maintain a home in South Florida — I hope you don’t spend any time in South Beach lest you catch TEH GAY.

This outburst by Hardaway was quickly condemned by the NBA, which had been promoting his appearances at NBA-related events. NBA Commissioner David Stern announced that Hardaway would no longer represent the league at public appearances: “It is inappropriate for him to be representing us given the disparity between his views and ours.”

In a CBS interview that gives the man another chance to clarify his statements, Hardaway stood firm and said that if he learned of a gay family member he wouldn’t talk to them. What a role model.

Hardaway later gave a tepid apology in a phone interview with Fort Lauderdale’s WSVN, saying “Yes, I regret it. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said I hate gay people or anything like that. That was my mistake.” In the same breath he then says “I just don’t condone it being in the locker room.” What an apology (you have to hear it to believe it — he sounds like someone is twisting his arm forcing the words out). Somehow I think he was more concerned about the possible impact on his wallet and the fact that now people know what he truly believes in his heart.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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