Spin Control: Tim Hardaway Talks About his Hate Speech

Former NBA player Tim Hardaway, who shocked the sports world following John Amaechi’s coming out by declaring “I hate gay people”, has given his most extensive and revealing interview to date regarding the comments.

Hardaway_1He tells longtime friend Scoop Jackson of ESPN:

“…it was just the wrong choice of words. It came out of my mouth real crude and real bad and real ugly. And people think that that’s the way I feel. That I hate [gay people], and I don’t. I don’t condone what they do, but I don’t hate them. But that’s how it came out…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.”

Hardaway tells Jackson: “I still don’t accept their lifestyle. No.” and says that when he sees gay people on the streets of Miami “I just get away from it. I just walk away. I see it, I just go the other way, cross the street.”

He adds: “When we was growing up Scoop, if we saw gay people or whatever, we ran across the street. We got away from them. Our parents, our friends, our families knew that that wasn’t right. We didn’t want to be around that and they definitely didn’t want us kids around it. And it’s not that they hated gay people, they just felt they it wasn’t right. Let them do what they want to do. And that was my experience when I was growing up. Not acknowledging them. Now did something happen to me? No. But I did have a friend that something happened to him in a Catholic school, but that is another can of worms that it’s not my place to open because it’s not my life. But to answer your question, ‘No.’ Nothing happened to me. I just don’t condone [being gay]. When I see gay people holding hands or kissing in the streets, I just don’t think that’s right.”

Hardaway2Hardaway says that the past couple weeks have been “pure hell” and he worries someone will physically harm him or his family.

What he doesn’t seem to realize, however, is that his fears are felt by gay people all the time as a consequence of hate speech which condones intolerance and facilitates violence.

The one bright spot in the interview is that the incident seems to have opened Hardaway’s eyes a little to the fact that there are gay people all around him:

“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…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.”

After reading his comments, it appears to me that Hardaway’s homophobia is a classic case of the ‘fear of the unknown’. Visibility is of the utmost importance in spreading tolerance. That is why it’s important that news anchors come out, that celebrities come out, that politicians come out, that athletes come out. There should be many more John Amaechis.

The full interview is well worth a read.

You may have missed…
Tim Hardaway’s Gay Spinout: North Miami Mayor, All-Stars React [tr]
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]


  1. MississippiTim says

    It’s only “worth a read” to see the continued rantings of a major homophobe who just issued the classic “non-apology apology.” He isn’t sorry that he said, he’s only sorry it was broadcast for public consumption.

    And Scoop Jackson is just as bad, posing idiot questions like this : Let’s get to a real situation: li’l Timmy is 14 now. How do you handle it if he comes home from school or, better yet, you get a call from a hospital that says that he’s been beaten by a group of gay kids in reaction to what you said about them?

    What the hell!? There’s some marauding band of gay kids out there going around attacking homophobes? That’s about as comical – and ridiculous – as the classic Monty Python skit where a band of old women dressed in black go around attacking people.

    Now Hardaway is sooo worried that someone is going to attack his family, that he stays “up until 3 or 4 in the morning” worried someone’s going to come in and torch his house.

    It’s sick. ESPN should be ashamed for even publishing it.

  2. Robert In WeHo says

    If Mr. Hardaway’s life has been such a living hell for the last two weeks as he claims it has, he certainly doesn’t seem to have learned anything from it…

  3. Matt says

    Are we still talking about this? You know, there are more important things going on like who is the father of Anna Nicole’s baby.

  4. jake0526 says

    He crosses the street when he sees a gay person?!?!?! I have to wonder how he’d feel if someone crossed the street because they saw a black man walking down the sidewalk. Neither is contagious Mr. Hardaway! Sounds like you still have some learning to do.

  5. rudy says

    TH is a bigot continuing to expell hatred. He has not learned anything other than he is stupid and inarticulate. The lesson learned by our community, in contrast, is that we are powerful and that by banding together with our allies we can force homophobes to confront their prejudices.

    TH demonstrates that HOMOPHOBIA IS LEARNED BEHAVIOUR. We have shown that it can be unlearned through economic pressure. By continuing to call out such incidents we can make homophobia socially unacceptable.

    I do not give a rat’s ass if you like me or my family but you better damn well not disrespect us or we will make you suffer the consequences.

  6. Rosie says

    It would do the man well to recall how not so very long ago the color of his skin could have evoked the same kind of ugly, ignorant and evil hatred he has spit out. O the gift to see ourselves as others see us…….

  7. rudy says

    Absolutely not Sam. I say give TH a bigger shovel. The answer to stupidity and bigotry is MORE SPEECH. Prejudice is killed by exposure in the marketplace of ideas. It is precisely in spewing homophobic statments that society at large can see the ignorance and baseless hatred.

    Give TH a bigger soapbox. More interviews; keep this fool talking. The more he talks the more he makes the case for equal rights for gays.

  8. SGR says

    Well said Rudy.

    The more this controversy goes on, the more people learn about Amaechi and what’s an acceptable way to treat gay people. We have support from respected athletes, coaches and businesses (including the media), who all say that Hardaway was wrong. This story makes it clear that being anti-gay will mean you’re tarnished personally and professionally. That’s an eye-opener to all those ‘I agree with Hardaway’ types.

    I hope people start making a link between Hardaway’s straight-up hateful words and the more coded positions of religious leaders and politicians. People like Hardaway take the shit that’s said about gays literally: we are perverts, we recruit children, our gayness is a choice, yet it’s somehow contagious. That’s what’s so healthy about this story in the long run–it forces a discussion of who gay people are and why hating gays is wrong.

    Which will hopefully make it harder for religous leaders and politicians to convince the public to take anti-gay positions (such as no gay marriage), which are ultimately based on the same crap that made Hardaway hate gay people in the first place.

  9. CF says

    Someone please duct tape a sweat sock into this idiot’s mouth and shut him up.

    He’s doing wonders to perpetuate the stereotype of the troglodyte jock.

    And by all means Mr. Hardaway, cross the street when you see my gay brothers and sisters — ideally through a very busy, high-trafficked (with fast moving automobiles) avenue.

  10. MT says

    Does he seriously think anything he says is less offensive than the last thing?

    I personally don’t care if he fears for his safety. Something tells me that he wouldn’t think twice about beating the crap out of a guy on the excuse he thought he was being hit on. He’s not going to get any sympathy from me.

    In a way I’m glad he said what he said. Let’s be honest. So many people are thinking it and to hear someone actually say the words may point out to them just how hateful and unacceptable these attitudes are when brought out into the light of day. Maybe some people will actually rethink their own attitudes.

  11. BeeDee says

    I’ve never heard a more carefully crafted line of bullshit in my life!

    Time H didn’t go to the other side of the street when he saw gay people when he was a kid, with his friends he taunted and made fun of the gay men he “saw” – which decodes as men who didn’t fulfill his narrow rigid definition of how a man should _be_. I’m thinking, when no one important is around to witness, he hasn’t changed much as an adult.

    I’ve never met this guy, but he and his morally superior gang terrorized me and beat me all through my younger years.

    He thought he could get away with his hate mongering and he lost big time. It’s nice to see that even in his crafted interview, with all his carefully chosen words, he still can’t disguise his hate.

    Fuck ‘im.

  12. Jared says

    Maybe it’s just me but I find this guy refreshing, and I can put aside his hate (and my response to it) enough to see the GOOD his speaking out is doing. Perhaps we should encourage him, not because he’s perpetuating stereotypes, but because he’s being HONEST and open — and none of us is so wise as to know how this will end up. Maybe he’ll be the first guy to publically work through his issues and come to genuine understanding.

    More power to THAT, rather than to our gay community spitting all over this guy simply because of what he doesn’t know. So many of the comments here are exactly the same kind of hatred you’re accusing this guy of. No wonder he hates gay people…

  13. Leland says

    At least as I’m writing this, it’s fantastic that no Pauliana has posted some variation on, “turn the other cheek…let’s forgive and forget…we have to be kind…blah blah blah,” though I suppose Jasmyne Cannick has already written that we need to give him a pass because he’s Black “a sweet guy” as she urged for Isaiah Washington—and Elton John has probably already booked a duet with Hardaway at John’s 60th Awesome Autofellatio Show, I mean, birthday party at Madison Square Garden.

    Interviewer and interviewee need to be bitch slapped again!

  14. Leland says

    Wrote too soon. Jared, you’re a dangerous child, whatever your age, and stupid at that. He clearly hated, no matter what he says for spin, long before he got shot down for spitting his bigotry in that first radio interview. The difference, HE was in control then. Now HE’s the terrified kid being shoved into his won locker [NBA Stardom & Riches]; he’s the terrified kid being knocked to the ground and pissed on [public social disapproval and shunning is a bitch].

    Yes, others will learn from this, but fuck you if you think any of us should care for the price he has to pay in the process. “You break it you pay for it.”

  15. Sean says

    “You know when we got a whopping we’d be like, “I hate my moms””

    That explains it ALL. Hardaway appears to be saying that his two lesbian Mom’s used to beat him, which is why he hates gay people now.

  16. rudy says

    Yay! MORE SPEECH. Keep the discussion going. Expand it out of cyberspace into the public square. Let the self-loathers join in.

    The more the fools talk, the more the truth of our gay being and basis for basic fairness and justice of equal rights becomes apparent.

    Talk to your family. Talk to your co-workers and neighbors. Let them experience an out and proud gay man. You will change hearts and minds by using the entree this foolish bigot has provided with his noteriety.

  17. Derrick from Philly says

    Actually, Jasmyne isn’t giving Hardaway any slack at all on this one. She knows he went to far and had to pay. Black gays do not excuse gay bashing by black folks. We simply won’t allow homophobia to take precedence over racism. They’re both evil. I’ll call a spade a spade when I have to, but I’ll call white trash a cracka’ when necessary too.

  18. John says

    I have to conclude that Mr. Hardaway is a damn fool no matter what. I can’t accept that Mr. Hardaway redemption should correspond to the news cycle. He will have to engage in more overt acts of contrition before I forgive him. He needs to put his money where his mouth is.

    He did not know gay people did typical human activities? I doubt he himself will ever overcome his willful ignorance (None are so blind as those who choose not to see).

    He should suffer the consequences of articulating his repugnant hatred. This will help others and future generations to stop propagating hate.

    Vehement protest and boycott can work.

    If he starts making substantial contributions to charities that focus on helping the gay community, I’ll start considering forgiving him.

    Meanwhile I will not go near any organization, product, or service that brings him any income.

  19. Bill says

    It was so good to see in writing (as I don’t make a habit of watching ESPN interviews) all of the old tired cliches about us faggots. It’s kind of comforting to know I still have reasons to to be skeptical about nearly every straight person out there. HA.

    The real dichotomy here is the chasm that exists between the erudite John Amaechi and the ignorant Tim Hardaway. If Hardaway would simply read or listen to what Amaechi has written or said about his experience, it would go a long way to unclogging his brain.

    That said, where do I sign up for this attack group? Gays with great big clubs! OOOOhhhh.

  20. Mike says

    Given the choice between letting his original comments stand and doing this second ‘clarification’ interview, I think he was right to do this interview.

    The interviewer did a good job of challenging him to justify his feelings, and to consider the implications of his feelings.

    He has clearly learned something over the past week. His comments were wrong and taking the interview at face value, he knows that.

  21. rudy says

    Mike, What??? You are delusional, child. Did you read the interview? The only thing being challenged by the interview is your reading comprehension. The only thing learned is your lack of analytical skills.

  22. Jack! says

    I’m probably the only one that believes Tim Hardaway’s comments at this point forward are not good for gay people. He is now in with the what the majortiy of Americans say publicly about gay people. That they hate homosexuality but not the person. He knows he’s safe because he threw out the Catholic church bit. I’m sure he has gotten TONS of fan mail since his rant telling him the playbook “hate the sin not the sinner.”

  23. Eric says

    You know, if you think you need therapy, you probably do.

    And, Jared, you’re either a shill or a parody of a social worker.

  24. Eric says

    Okay. Just I read the article. Tim, fire your PR and learn that subject/verb disagreement makes audiences unsure if you’re talking about the past, present or future.

    Also, didn’t Scoop just write a wonderful article about the tragic death of a gay high school athlete? Yay, Scoop!

  25. Eric says

    Just I read the article.

    It would stand to reason that, as I’m discussing grammar, I would produce a word jumble.

  26. patrick nyc says

    “I’m a damn fool.”

    Those last few words he said were the only bit of truth out of his dumb ass mouth, idiot.

  27. joe says

    once again the tyranny of towleroad rears it’s pus-filled head… leland and rudy. two bitter pills impossible to swallow.

  28. mjb says

    So try this…

    Everywhere it says “gay” insert “black”…

    For previous stories on this ass… where it says “fag” insert “nigger”…

    Now reread all of this and see how stupid this ass is…

    He SHOULD stay up all night concerned about his family because he is instilling a “tar and feather” attitude about issues he claims to be ignorant of…

    How sad…

  29. says

    I think the kindest thing to be said is that clearly he’s… struggling. That, at least, gives me a little hope that he’ll come to realize just how foolish and bigoted much of this sounds (I also have to say that usually when guys are as homophobic as this, there’s more to it than “my family don’t think it’s right” – I wonder if there was an incident or something untoward or worse that happened to him; not because it would make it okay for him to think this way, but at least it would give some more context). I think it’s healthier to get someone to express this stuff than to pretend it’s not out there. And I don’t think it’s helpful to do the “just imagine if someone said this about black people.” Gay and black are different and we should keep that in mind and respect that not everything in this is analagous, and not to all people. Sometimes it’s helpful to make the comparison; many times, it isn’t.

  30. Jack! says

    Weboy, he said nothing ever happened between him and a gay person. He said he was raised to stay away from gay people and that they are wrong.

    I agree being gay is different from being black and vica versa. I think gay people should not compare themselves with black people. Most black people are raised by a black family, know about their history, talk about their lives etc. Most gay people are raised by and live with a straight family, are not taught about their history, can not easily talk about their lives etc.