Tim Hardaway’s Gay Spinout: North Miami Mayor, All-Stars React

In an attempt to help Tim Hardaway understand gay people, North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns has extended an invitation to the former NBA player. Burns has asked Hardaway to spend a day with him at his office and home, where he lives with his partner of 23 years, Rob Flint, and their daughter Autumn.

KevinburnsSaid Burns: ”We’re just trying to show him that there are living, breathing people that just happen to be gay. ‘I don’t expect [Hardaway] to be waving a peace flag anytime soon, even after this. But maybe he’ll be less likely to say something bad about people if he knows them and understands a little more.” Burns says Hardaway has accepted the offer, but no official announcement has been made, and Hardaway’s spokesperson told the Miami Herald that an announcement would be premature.

Hardaway apologized again on Sunday for his comments, telling CBS affiliate WFOR, “I don’t hate gay people. I’m a good-hearted person. I interact with people all the time. … I respect people. For me to say ‘hate’ was a bad word, and I didn’t mean to use it.”

Despite the contrition, comments Hardaway made last week, that he “hates gay people” and would feel uncomfortable playing on a team with another gay player, are still reverberating through the sport.

During All-Star weekend media sessions in Las Vegas over the weekend, players, including some from Hardaway’s former team, the Miami Heat, were asked about the incident.

Lebron_shaqHeat center Shaquille O’Neal (pictured joking around during All-Star practice with LeBron James) said he would stand up for a gay player: “I was always taught as a youngster to never judge people, so I never judge people and to each their own. If he was my teammate and people ridiculed him and jumped on him, I would probably have to protect him.”

Heat guard Dwyane Wade did not refer to Hardaway specifically, but offered this: “Anybody who knows me knows I’m a guy who loves his teammates and if anything ever comes up like that, I don’t look at that. I look at what guys can do for you on the court. And in the locker room you have great relationships with guys. I don’t have any negative views.”

KaponoHeat forward Jason Kapono (seen here after winning the trophy for the three-point competition Saturday night) said Hardaway’s views put him in the minority: “Everyone has their own views on life, and that’s something that’s obviously his point of view, but that’s definitely not the point of view of all the rest of us.”

NBA star Bill Laimbeer avoided the question entirely: “Who is Tim Hardaway? Next question.”

Memphis forward Mike Miller offered support for former teammate Amaechi: “He’s a great person. Everyone has the right to be how they want be. It would be difficult [having an out player on the team], but at the same time our league is a league that has taken on anything. We bring on and accept anything, and I think that’s what’s special about the NBA.”

Scottie Pippen: It was pretty shocking. You hate to see that happen to one of your colleagues knowing the damage he’s caused to himself, his family and friends … I’m very disappointed it happened.”

Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash said: “I think, probably, there’s a player or two out there who believes what he believes. That probably would be fair of every cross section of society. But in general, I think he spoke for himself. I don’t think you’d catch many guys feeling that way…Maybe 10 years ago. But in our locker room [now]? I think guys are over it. Guys are like, ‘I don’t care what you do.’ I don’t know about other locker rooms. I don’t know if it’s peer pressure is contagious or just being in the right place in the right time to get that type of virulence. But in the Phoenix Suns’ locker room, it’s not like that.”

Sacramento Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof said a bigoted player would not have a place on his team: “What he said was uncalled for. What he said was wrong. I’m sure he apologized for it, but the damage has been done. He should have never said that. Because we don’t want to be judged by race, creed, color, sexual preference. I mean, people are people. And that’s the way it should be.”

In addition to having his name dropped from the car wash he co-owns in south Florida, Hardaway was taunted and flaunted on several websites over the weekend, which published YouTube footage of a naked Hardaway in the locker room. Said sports blog Deadspin: “Tim Hardaway might not enjoy gay people, but I really think it could give us all a chance to heal if gay people had a chance to enjoy Tim Hardaway.”

Here are a few recent notable articles on Amaechi:
The Loneliness of the Gay Basketball Player: John Amaechi’s Man in the Middle, the memoir of an NBA misfit. [slate]
Amaechi’s Good Morning America appearance [newsbusters]

Gay Mayor Reaches Out to Hardaway [miami herald]
Shaq: I’d protect a gay teammate [palm beach post]
Anti-gay comments find no backing [tr]

You may have missed…
Former NBA Player Tim Hardaway: “I Hate Gay People” [tr]
Former NBA Player John Amaechi on Outside the Lines: I’m Gay [tr]
Amaechi: Hardaway Anti-Gay Comments “Illustrate the Problem” [tr]
Tim Hardaway’s Gay Hate Speech Brings Swift Reaction [tr]

Comments

  1. elliott says

    Considering the popularity of basketball and deification of basketball players among many black people (men especially), these statements could work wonders in combating homophobia in the black community.

  2. John says

    Tim Hardaway is only apologizing because of the damage his ignorant remarks are having on his future income stream. The fool was so oblivious to his fellow man that he thought he could give free expression to his hate without experiencing consequences.

    Actions speak louder than words. Let him put his money where his mouth is. A big contribution to a gay youth organization might be a step toward redemption.

    Let’s not let the ‘crisis-management’ publicist he’s hired get him out of this so easily.

    Vehement protest and boycott can be effective.

  3. hoya86 says

    If all this support is actually real – I hope it is – then it would seem that this is the best time for a player in the NBA to come out.

    You’ve got major players expressing support and/or acceptance of a gay team mate so what’s the problem???

  4. Jack! says

    I don’t believe these guys. If it was so great why isn’t a player out already? They are just saying those things because their pr people are telling them to.

  5. James says

    Elliot,

    Listen brother I don’t want to turn this into a flame war, but you are working on a few assumptions. There is the whole black community homophobia thing, which is sort of tired. You bet there are homo haters in the black community, hell I know some of them, but the assumption that the “black community” is any more homophobiac than the white community is not true. From the Urban League to the Black Caucus, there are black folk supporting gay rights. Now those folk rarel get talked about, but someone like Mr. Hardway is thrown out as example # 1 as homophobia in the “black community.”

    As for the “deification of basketball players among many black people (men especially),” what world are you living in man. This is America where everyone, from white to red, is hanging on the jock’s strap. So if you want to talk about the “deification” of sports stars, I suggest you look beyond the “black community.”

    peace

  6. Jeff says

    James: “hanging on the jock’s strap”
    LOL… I like your turn of phrase.

    Re the statements of the other basketball players, I think they are great and I think they are genuine. I think that in 2007, a BIG majority of straight guys, even in professional sports, are not homophobic. Consciousness and awareness have been raised 10 fold even in the last 5 or 6 years. Their statements will make it that much easier for the next guy to come out. Hardaway belongs to a small and ever-shrinking minority.

  7. Wayne says

    Wow, the article at blacknewsweekly is just bizarre! This guy quotes the bible regarding gays, but fails to retain the knowledge that the bible also says he should be a slave to the white community! What an arrogant ass! I doubt he represents the black community, except for the black community that lives inside his own head.

  8. Da says

    “You’ve got major players expressing support and/or acceptance of a gay team mate so what’s the problem???”
    Posted by: hoya86 |

    I was going to say!! So many good sentiments expressed here..so what in the world is the problem hmm?

    I don’t want to sound cynical, cause I certainly appreciate people who are brave enough to come out and say something positive towards our community, but we’d be really foolish to believe that these PR-filtered represent the majority of opinions. I have serious doubts.

    I still believe that the most troubling homophobia is the one that is instinuionalized, and heavily guarded by those who have an interest to keep things as is. Until we can really attack the fundementals of it and propose a viable alternative, all the rest remains that…”good sentiments”.

    I’m not a great sports fan in general, but it is my opinion that the whole professional sports culture will need a major overhaul before homosexuality can be accepted – cause as long as what is sold is a singular and unnuanced ‘tough macho guy’ image on and off the field, gays will always be seen as a threat.

    The other solution of course would be for our community to promote its own leagues & championships, and hope that when this model becomes successful with the public the media and pro leagues might start looking at them for talents/stars. Might be a bit utopian as I’ve not studied the question well enough.

  9. rudy says

    No Lee, Tim Hardaway meant every word he said. He is an ignorant homophobic bigot. His putative apology came directly from his PR spin team when they realized that his idiotic remarks were going to negatively affect his endorsement value. I encourage everyone–straight and gay–to be as hard on him economically as possible. He must be made to suffer the consequences of his hateful remarks. I find it difficult to believe that a self-respecting gay man would tolerate his remarks. Of course he has every free speech right to express his bigotry and we targets of his hatred (his term) have every right to push back and make him suffer for them. Ride up and punish him where it will do the most good, in his pocketbook. Please Lee work out your self-loathing attitude for your own well-being.

  10. peterparker says

    Lee,

    Below are a couple of Tim Hardaway’s comments regarding gay people. His feelings about gay people seem pretty clear from these statements. Perhaps you can tell us why you think he didn’t mean something he said?

    Hardaway said of gay people, “First of all I wouldn’t want him on my team. Second of all, if he was on my team I would really distance myself from him because I don’t think that’s right and I don’t think he should be in the locker room while we’re in the locker room…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, or in the United States. So, yeah, I don’t like it.”

    If you continue to believe that Hardaway didn’t mean those statements, then you, my friend, are living in extreme denial.

    xo
    peterparker

  11. ed says

    People have been ostracized and shunned for far less hateful statements than Mr. Hardaway’s. I guess it depends on where you direct your hate.

    I hope this doesn’t just blow over. He should make an overt gesture of contrition. His words ring completely hollow to me.

  12. patrick nyc says

    Hardaway apologized again on Sunday for his comments, telling CBS affiliate WFOR, “I don’t hate gay people. I’m a good-hearted person. I interact with people all the time. … I respect people. For me to say ‘hate’ was a bad word, and I didn’t mean to use it.”

    Mr. Hardaway good-hearted people, those who truly respect people, do not spit out the hate that you did. You did not let it slip once, while you were drunk or angry, you let out a vile lengthy tirade at the gay community. I’m just glad that you are paying the price. I also agree with the below statement.

    Sacramento Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof said a bigoted player would not have a place on his team: “What he said was uncalled for. What he said was wrong. I’m sure he apologized for it, but the damage has been done. He should have never said that. Because we don’t want to be judged by race, creed, color, sexual preference. I mean, people are people. And that’s the way it should be.”

    Yes the damage has been done. It’s great to see this and the other statements from various players in the NBA. A few years ago they would have kept their mouths shut over fear of getting flap, maybe things are changing. Too bad those at ABC did not have the same thinking as this guy, Washington is still on the show and I have not watched since he spit out his hate, apology or not, the damage is done, so is the show as far as I’m concerned.

    Oh and LEE, you are clueless.

  13. LightningLad says

    >>the assumption that the “black community” is any more homophobiac than the white community is not true

    Actually it is true.

    If you look at public opinion survey, you will find that African-American consistently express less support for gay rights issues than white Americans.

  14. Zeke says

    Today Hardaway said that he was shocked that there was such an overwhelmingly negative response to his comment. I guess it caught him by surprise that the world is moving forward and it’s no longer OK, not even in the NBA, to make public anti-gay comments.

  15. Zeke says

    Jump on over to Outsports.com and check out the picture of, Sir Charles (Barkley) in a lip lock with another man. They have the whole story behind it as well. I don’t know if he’s making a point or just being silly. Either way I give him props. The man’s got balls.

  16. James says

    Lightinglad,

    Nope you are wrong. The public opinion polls say two things. 1) black folk express more issues with gay rights than white folk, AND 2) black folk express more support for anti-gay hate crime laws than white folk. As I said before it is foolish not to to have a conversation about anti-gay sentiment in the black community, but it is just as foolish to assume there is more when compared to white folk.

    peace

  17. Jared says

    Here we go again. If in fact blacks are “more homophobic” than whites, so what? This country is run by WHITE MEN. So, your (our) lives are being marginalized by laws created by WHITE MEN. Homophobia is most damaging when the ones in power hate you. Tim Hardaway’s hate does not affect me in anyway. However, if the white men in power hate me, then I am screwed.

  18. Da says

    If in fact blacks are “more homophobic” than whites, so what?
    Posted by: Jared |

    First off, I don’t even believe that in the *facts* that the black community is more homophobic than the white. I just don’t. I spend a lot of time on the web, and consistently I’ve witnessed that the most virulent forms (if not most) of homophobia are expressed by young white males..Surf to youtube, break, or most babes forums out there and you’ll experience the ugliness for yourself.

    Secondly, I’ve phrased it a thousand different ways like you Jared : the homophobia we should most worry about isn’t the one that is expressed by the little guys or a PR unsavvy celeb, no matter what their race is. Yes that has to be condemned, but we have to go far far beyond it!

    And in many ways, the fact we don’t makes it seem like we’ve fallen in the trap carefully crafted by the powerful homophobic institutions of our society who have all trained us to believe that it’s not homophobia till someone says “I hate gays and want them dead”.

    It’s all those BIG GUYS, those who turn a loathesome profit & gain political points by opressing us – those are the ones we need to worry about..Because they have so much to lose by doing right by us, that they’d be willing to exterminate us if that could save their enterprise.

    So what happen when we’re focusing on the little guys? it makes them very happy!! cause they’re off the hook..and it’s business as usual. For ABC. Hollywood. The NBA and professional spors. The educational system and its school libraries. The juidical system and the laws.

    But there might also be other reasons we’re willing to keep our blinders on:

    1)It might mean that we’re admitting defeat at the idea of going after our real oppressors, and getting out there to fight the good fight.

    2) Or maybe admitting a problem with those institutions (which we’ve all embracing or participating in in one way or the other), might mean questioning *our* own involment in perpetrating homophobia in our culture – & making a change in our attitudes.

    Either way, I say this: let’s continue to focus on the little guys and tear each other part, then let’s see how that helps our cause!!

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