Amaechi: Hardaway Anti-Gay Comments “Illustrate the Problem”

In an interview with the Associated Press Thursday, former NBA player John Amaechi spoke out about former NBA player Tim Hardaway’s comments about gay people.

Amaechiespn_1Said Amaechi: “I don’t need Tim’s comments to realize there’s a problem. People said that I should just shut up and go away – now they have to rethink that.”

Hardaway made the comments to a radio host Wednesday, when asked about Amaechi’s recent disclosure that he is gay. Said Hardaway: “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.” (video)

Amaechi added: “His words pollute the atmosphere. It creates an atmosphere that allows young gays and lesbians to be harassed in school, creates an atmosphere where in 33 states you can lose your job, and where anti-gay and lesbian issues are used for political gain. It’s an atmosphere that hurts all of us, not just gay people. Famously, they’re saying in 2007 that homophobia is not an issue. While (Hardaway) is not a representative of the NBA or of straight men, there’s no point pretending it’s not an opinion that is out there.”

Amaechi also spoke to Dan Le Batarad (the host of the show on which Hardaway spewed his hate) at the Miami Herald on Wednesday evening saying that Hardaway’s comments open a window into what gay athletes may have to face in professional sports. Said Amaechi: “I’m actually tempted to laugh. Finally, someone who is honest. It is ridiculous, absurd, petty, bigoted and shows a lack of empathy that is gargantuan and unfathomable. But it is honest. And it illustrates the problem better than any of the fuzzy language other people have used so far.”

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Former NBA Star Tim Hardaway: “I Hate Gay People” [tr]
Former NBA Player John Amaechi on Outside the Lines: I’m Gay [tr]