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Hardaway tries to extract foot from mouth again

Hasn’t anyone told him that it’s probably best to zip it? Tim Hardaway was recently interviewed by ESPN’s Scoop Jackson (a personal friend of the former Heat player), and it’s a lengthy piece that is both apologetic (for the media debacle and using the word “hate”) and yet boldly affirms his base homophobia, which isn’t unexpected, given the vitriol of the original comments.

Here’s a snippet of the Good:

Like I said when I heard the interview, when I heard myself, it sounded bad. “Them being in another country and they shouldn’t be in America ?” That should have never come out. I was like, “Damn, I messed that up. Damn, I don’t believe that came out my mouth. Damn, that’s not me.”

Yeah, I took the wrong road. I should have been smart about what I was saying and how I expressed my feelings because I offended a lot of folks. And not knowing the magnitude on how this all escalated. I mean, I offended my family, my friends, the NBA, the gay community, people I don’t know, the [Miami] Heat organization. I realize that I offended a lot of people and caused a lot of friction on a touchy subject. And now it’s my job to make it right.

So in your mind do you want forgiveness or are you just going to try to get yourself straight?
I want both. I want forgiveness and I want to get my s— together.

And that entails
?Right now, learning. Learning that gay people are really no different than a lot of other people. Learning that they work hard, they do things in the community, they are responsible for building parks, rec centers, providing safe environments for kids, just things I had never associated with them before. [This last week] has opened up my eyes to the gay population and what they do. I’m getting a lot of knowledge about them that I didn’t have. Which is going to make me a better person. And if it doesn’t, then I’m a damn fool.

The Bad, or at least, the humorously Bad, is after the flip.He can’t let go of his security blanket of homophobia.

But still you have issues with gays?
I still don’t accept their lifestyle. No.

And you stand on that?
Yes. You know, we were brought up to not even condone or associate yourself with a gay person. If you knew of a gay person, disassociate yourself with them.

But Tim, you’ve been in Miami for years now and there is a strong and public gay community there. How have you still held on to that same mentality while living in Miami all of these years?
I just get away from it. I just walk away. I see it, I just go the other way, cross the street.

So at no point did you ever try to understand their lifestyle or way of life?
No. Never did. Never wanted to.

Do you want to now?
No. I don’t want to ? try to find some type of understanding of why they live the way they live or why they are the way they are. Maybe I could go to therapy, maybe someone can help me out with understanding [them], the sensitivity of the issue. But as a person, my beliefs are my beliefs. I don’t have to condone it and I don’t have to be around it. But I don’t have to hate it either.

Geez, another dude who’s floating the idea of rehabbing the gay-hate away. Maybe that’s what it takes for someone so deeply disturbed about this issue needs, but is Hardaway saying he has no control over what he thinks and says in public? If that’s the case, maybe he does need professional help for a whole host of problems related to that.

I have to give Jackson credit — he pushes Hardaway to think deeply about where his homophobia is rooted, and poses several hypotheticals (someone comes out to Tim before he’s brought onto a team — that’s OK, vs. after being on the team — not OK), that proves Hardaway truly hasn’t figured out why he thinks the way that he does.

Hat tip, Kevin A.

* Leonard Pitts: Good for Tim Hardaway
* Hardaway tries again
* Gay mayor reaches out to Tim Hardaway
* The class of John Amaechi
* Tim Hardaway: ‘I hate gay people’
* Hardaway’s tortured apology
* ESPN message board topic: “Tim Hardaway is right.”
* ESPN’s Outside the Lines, featuring the full interview with infamous remarks, as well as comments from Amaechi. 

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding