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Tim Hardaway's Gay Hate Speech Brings Swift Reaction

On Wednesday night, Former Miami Heat player Tim Hardaway's astonishing flippant response to comments he made regarding gay people following John Amaechi's coming out only served to further fuel the public outrage that was building. Said Hardaway: "There are more important things to worry about than my comments. We should be more concerned about President Bush and all the people dying in Iraq."

TimhardawayHuh? Hardaway has since felt the pressure to issue a more contrite statement. On Thursday, he issued the following apology through his agent Henry Thomas:

"As an African American, I know all too well the negative thoughts and feelings hatred and bigotry cause. I regret and apologize for the statements that I made that have certainly caused the same kinds of feelings and reactions. I especially apologize to my fans, friends and family in Miami and Chicago. I am committed to examining my feelings and will recognize, appreciate and respect the differences among people in our society. I regret any embarrassment I have caused the league on the eve of one of their greatest annual events."

Following Hardaway's initial remarks on Wednesday ("I hate gay people. I let it be known, I don't like gay people. I don't like to be around gay people.") the NBA canceled an "NBA legend" appearance by the former point guard at the YMCA of Southern Nevada as well as his participation in events surrounding this weekend's All Star game in Las Vegas.

Hardaway has also been dumped as spokesman for Baldguyz, a company that makes grooming products for bald men, according to the Miami Herald. Said their CEO: ''BaldGuyz, like baldness, does not discriminate based on lifestyle choice, color, education, financial resources, religion, physical capabilities or in any other way."

AmaechiMeanwhile, John Amaechi continues to react to the incident with restraint and eloquence. Here are some of his recent comments to the San Francisco Chronicle:

"It's not my place to get in the way of someone's relationship with God, with their God. That is their belief. However, if what you are actually talking about is Biblical literalism, and if that's the case, then I expect people who spout vitriol about gay people to have the same ire as they regard players who have guns under their seats, who smoke marijuana, who commit adultery...

...I think that the truth of the levels of homophobia in society sometimes have to be highlighted by some kind of car crash, and that's what this is. He's stopped people from saying some of the things that I've heard, you know, "Shut up, because there's no issue. There's no need to talk about this, there's no problem. There's no homophobia.'' I find that ironic in the greatest extent in a country where in 33 states you could be fired for being gay...

...One of the most important things throughout history that we know is that the furtherance of causes for minorities has been sponsored not only by the great efforts of the minorities themselves, but also by the fact that people from outside that minority group would stand shoulder to shoulder (with them). People who stood next to black people during emancipation, during the fight for equal rights were considered very progressive and bold and brave. ... The problem we have in the gay community is that people who stand next to them are considered gay. It makes them quiet."

Hardaway very slow getting back on defense after airball [sf chronicle]
Hardaway's gay bashing brings swift rebuke [miami herald]

You may have missed...
Former NBA Star Tim Hardaway: "I Hate Gay People" [tr]
Former NBA Player John Amaechi on Outside the Lines: I'm Gay [tr]

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  1. STATEMENT FROM FREEDOM DEMOCRATS, MIAMI, FL.
    Miami Dade Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Caucus
    RE: Mr. Tim Hardaway’s Anti-Gay Comments

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Miami, Florida (February 15, 2007) – Freedom Democrats, the Miami Dade Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Democratic Caucus, categorically, and with great concern, denounce the recent comments of Mr. Tim Hardaway. Mr. Hardaway’s insensitive and bigoted comments once again show that many people in the United States have a long way to go before affording the same respect and rights that they expect for themselves.

    For those who do not know, Mr. Hardaway was an accomplished professional athlete who is a hero to many people. He retired from the NBA at the end of the 2003 season. He reached 5,000 points and 2,500 assists faster than any NBA player in history, but for the legend Oscar Robertson. He was a five time NBA All-Star, Miami Heat Guard, from 1996-2001, all time assist leader for the Miami Heat and was drafted 14th in the 1989 NBA draft out of the University of Texas, El Paso.

    Freedom Democrats respect and embrace the rights of each citizen of the United States of America to free speech. We are also aware of the fact that many citizens unfortunately still cannot live side by side with each other and embrace the uniqueness of each person. We, as an organization that represent the civil and human rights of all people, denounce and hold accountable any person that uses any forum to advance hatred and bigotry to the detriment of other citizens of the United States (See www.FreedomDems.org.)

    Through his comments, Mr. Hardoway feeds the fires of insidious intolerance that pervades our society. Mr. Hardaway seems to have forgotten the history of struggles so many minorities have suffered through to gain basic human and civil rights throughout the world. Freedom Democrats believes that this type of rhetoric creates an atmosphere and environment that allows for the ongoing harassment of young GLBT peoples in our schools, discrimination in the workplace and in housing, and the lack of laws which would protect the civil and human rights of GLBT peoples throughout Miami-Dade County, Florida, and The United States of America.

    Mr. Hardaway is a respected citizen and celebrity of Miami, a respected businessman and a 5 time NBA All Star. He makes money off of his appearances and his celebrity recognition has presumably been good for his two businesses he owns in Miami. Furthermore, Mr. Hardaway has spoken at many schools and has been a role model and hero for many kids and young adults with his on-the-court grit and excellence. He now gives those same kids and young adults the power, excuse, and platform through his words and example, to practice bigotry and oppress a group of people who he chooses to “hate” (his own word).

    His remarks show people and our leaders that great work still needs to be done to overcome learned prejudices in order to move our society to a more open, loving, and tolerant place that respects all people for whom they are as American citizens and not pariahs to be cast out of our society.

    The Freedom Democrats call on Miami Dade County, and all of those citizens and people who respect and embrace diversity, to not patronize Mr. Hardway’s business at Tim Hardaway US1 Car Wash, 3501 S. Dixie Highway, Miami, Florida, 305-447-9998, until that time that Mr. Hardaway makes a public apology to the citizens of Miami Dade, in a public news conference, for fueling bigotry, hatred and intolerance and engages in practices that would justify any citizen patronizing his business.

    *****************************************************************
    Chip Arndt
    President, Freedom Democrats
    Info@FreedomDems.org
    305.895.9466 x113

    Posted by: Freedom Democrats | Feb 16, 2007 4:28:34 PM


  2. He just keeps digging a deeper hole for himself. I find it disgusting that Tim acts worse than some middle school kids. What's with all of this hate speech? As a 19 year old I simply cannot understand how a man in his 40's can act so immature. Amaechi keeps looking like the bigger man in this debacle. I can already see him being a major role model in the gay community. Thanks Mr. Amaechi for keeping your integrity throughout this entire experience!

    It's so lame how Tim just pulled the Iraq card. I hope one of his kids come out as gay. No I take that back. I don't think he deserves the privilege of having a gay child.

    Posted by: Ed | Feb 16, 2007 4:31:22 PM



  3. John Amaechi is an intellectually, culturally, spiritually, emotionally, and, oh yes, physically gorgeous man. We could not have a better ambassador. Let the bigots rant, they only reveal their stupidity. Heroes like John Amaechi are everywhere living their lives openly and responsibly. He is using the spotlight for the advancement of others. What a beautiful man.

    Posted by: rudy | Feb 16, 2007 4:37:29 PM


  4. Man, I'm falling in love with John Amaechi!

    Posted by: Michael W. | Feb 16, 2007 4:43:48 PM


  5. John Amaechi is everything you want in a man.

    Posted by: Jack! | Feb 16, 2007 4:59:43 PM


  6. Mr. Amaechi is amazing!

    As a bald man, myself, I am please that Baldguyz has cancelled anything to do with Mr. Hardaway.

    Posted by: JT | Feb 16, 2007 5:07:33 PM


  7. May be Tim Hardaway can get the name of that rehad facility Isaiah Washington went to. That should help him examine his feeling.

    Posted by: Bob Kasunic | Feb 16, 2007 5:14:59 PM


  8. Every time I see a quote from Amaechi I am more and more impressed. He really seems like a class act. I bet his parents are really proud of him. They should be.

    Posted by: Brian | Feb 16, 2007 5:48:26 PM


  9. I agree with all above, that Amaechi has been an inspiration through all of this. I thought after his press release last week he would fade away, especially after many in the NBA said that there was no homophbia in the league. Well it's clear that Hardaway has proven what we all know first hand, that it couldn't have been shown more clearer with his words of hate.

    I disagree with the many who bring up the free speech line. He said that if he knew of gays on his team he would demand that they fired them or he'd quit. That is not free speach, it is discrimination.

    Hardaway only apoligized, like Isaiah Washington, because it was going to cost him in his pocket. He said afterwards, "As an African American, I know all too well the negative thoughts and feelings hatred and bigotry cause. I regret and apologize for the statements that I made that have certainly caused the same kinds of feelings and reactions."

    This is the very same point many of us brought up with the Washington debate, but many, of all races, said it was wrong to expect more from an African American, or any group, just because they were in our place and should know better. Well it looks like Hardaway's handlers don't agree.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Feb 16, 2007 6:11:41 PM


  10. "I disagree with the many who bring up the free speech line."
    Posted by: patrick nyc |

    I also have a problem with that. I would tend to classify this as "hate speech", though it's his right to.

    But the distinction has to be made so people don't think it's ok to preach hate towards any group in the media just because we have free speech.

    But anyway...

    >>Said their CEO: ''BaldGuyz, like baldness, does not discriminate based on lifestyle choice, color, education, financial resources, religion, physical capabilities or in any other way."

    Greatest diss I've ever heard!

    Posted by: Da | Feb 16, 2007 6:24:11 PM


  11. On Friday when Miami reporters attempted to get a comment from Hardaway at his home he suggested they were not being respectful of him. "I just want you all to respect my feelings,respect my family and respect the privacy of my family." Someday hopefully Hardaway will learn that respect is a two way street AND it is earned not just by throwing a ball through a hoop! What a sad,pathetic human being!

    Posted by: ShawnSF | Feb 16, 2007 6:32:29 PM


  12. Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. Hardaway seems genuinely surprised by the reaction - what a dolt!

    Posted by: Giovanni | Feb 16, 2007 7:13:27 PM


  13. I'm going out on a limb (though I have company see Savage at Slog or Sulli) and say I disagree with this crap. That idiot has every right to hate me and any other gay person he likes. This is America and I cannot tolerate the Thought Police demanding this man change his views to accomodate my feelings. Should others be outraged and publicly denounce him? Hell, yeah. But it is not only dangerous but stupid to force an insincere public apology and tell him he cannot hold that view. That just takes this kind of crap underground where it can fester and grow. The answer to hate is public debate, not knee-jerk reactions that silence an opinion we don't like. Boycott his business, get the message out, but allow people to think what they like. He did not violate the rights of any American nor commit any crime. He has the right to whatever retarded view he wishes to hold and he can spout it all he likes.

    Posted by: john | Feb 16, 2007 7:21:34 PM


  14. And please folks....do not take the "canned" statement from his agent, which they quickly released to the Advocate, as an apology.

    That was clearly a way to try and stop the sound of company endorsements going down the drain.....can you hear the sucking sound....many of us living in Miami demand that he make a public statement at a press conference where we can see him and listen to him. Only then can we truly know if he really cares about the harm he has caused, and more importantly does HE get it, not just his high paid managers and agents.

    I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he can be as articulate as Mr. Amaechi, unless of course he refuses to speak to the press and the people directly and then we can assume.....well I will leave that up to all of you to decide.

    AND in the meantime, please do not accept words and statements released to the press or anybody else as adequate = it's frankly very insulting.

    Posted by: Chip Arndt | Feb 16, 2007 7:31:33 PM


  15. John Amaechi is indeed a class act. I'm more impressed with him the more I hear from him.

    As to Hardaway's apology--I guess having your endorsment contracts cancelled would make anyone feel sorry.

    Posted by: Daniel | Feb 16, 2007 7:31:36 PM


  16. Uh oh, Hardaway has now committed the cardinal sin here at Towleroad; he said he should have been more sensitive to the oppression of others since he has faced it himself as an African-American.

    How long before someone here goes for his jugular?

    Posted by: Zeke | Feb 16, 2007 7:32:04 PM


  17. Oh, and I'll say it again, LOVE me some Amaechi!

    He is one hell of a good spokesman for the promotion of gay awareness. He is wise beyond his years, well spoken, thoughtful and quite easy on the eyes.

    Posted by: Zeke | Feb 16, 2007 7:34:30 PM


  18. I'm sure Hardaway wrote his statement all by his little self.

    Posted by: The Taipei Kid | Feb 16, 2007 7:34:35 PM


  19. Hardaway's sincerity is sorely missing from his canned apology...

    Posted by: Robert In WeHo | Feb 16, 2007 7:42:07 PM


  20. John,

    If you read the statement from Freedom Democrats, we support Freedom of speech BUT we will hold you accountable for that speech. No one is debating that he does not have a right to say anyhting he wants (but for crying fire,when there is none in a public place = that is against the law)...I think we all understand the Ku Klux Klan argument...that it is my right to speak bigotry...etc...just as long as....we get it!

    So please read the following again:

    "We, as an organization that represent the civil and human rights of all people, denounce and hold accountable any person that uses any forum to advance hatred and bigotry to the detriment of other citizens of the United States."

    AND THEN...the real issue for me is this:

    "Mr. Hardaway is a respected citizen and celebrity of Miami, a respected businessman and a 5 time NBA All Star. He makes money off of his appearances and his celebrity recognition has presumably been good for his two businesses he owns in Miami. Furthermore, Mr. Hardaway has spoken at many schools and has been a role model and hero for many kids and young adults with his on-the-court grit and excellence. He now gives those same kids and young adults the power, excuse, and platform through his words and example, to practice bigotry and oppress a group of people who he chooses to “hate” (his own word)."

    While he may not have said anything to date so hateful in schools, when he purported to be a great role model...if he now continues to show up at schools and speak about anything, we all know what he really feels. Then what do we do? Maybe he will speak in schools and this time talk about his learned bigotry, that would something special. But let's us not hold our breath.

    As we did in LA years ago to get Dr. Laura off the air, we did not attack her 1st Amendment right to speak her mind (even if factual incorrect) we held the company of Viacom/Paramount accountable for airing the show. They saw they would lose money, brand recognition, faith of their LGBT employees, and respect for airing her show, so they dropped it.

    Go ahead people be biggots, but don't expect us to sit around and support anything you are doing while you alienate a portion of our society and undermine hundreds of years of battling for respect of all peoples.

    Posted by: Chip Arndt | Feb 16, 2007 7:46:26 PM


  21. John, can you point me to the link where it says that someone has said that Hardaway "can't hold that view". I haven't seen anything that said that.

    What I did hear was that the NBA didn't want to have him officially representing them when he publicly states anti-gay opinions that are contrary to their company policy. Do you not think they have the right to choose who represents them and expect them to behave in public in a way that won't reflect poorly on them?

    If I missed the report about the thought police telling him he couldn't believe what he wants to, please forgive me but I think it's more likely that you are misrepresenting what is happening here.

    Posted by: Zeke | Feb 16, 2007 7:46:55 PM


  22. John,

    If you read the statement from Freedom Democrats, we support Freedom of speech BUT we will hold you accountable for that speech. No one is debating that he does not have a right to say anyhting he wants (but for crying fire,when there is none in a public place = that is against the law)...I think we all understand the Ku Klux Klan argument...that it is my right to speak bigotry...etc...just as long as....we get it!

    So please read the following again:

    "We, as an organization that represent the civil and human rights of all people, denounce and hold accountable any person that uses any forum to advance hatred and bigotry to the detriment of other citizens of the United States."

    AND THEN...the real issue for me is this:

    "Mr. Hardaway is a respected citizen and celebrity of Miami, a respected businessman and a 5 time NBA All Star. He makes money off of his appearances and his celebrity recognition has presumably been good for his two businesses he owns in Miami. Furthermore, Mr. Hardaway has spoken at many schools and has been a role model and hero for many kids and young adults with his on-the-court grit and excellence. He now gives those same kids and young adults the power, excuse, and platform through his words and example, to practice bigotry and oppress a group of people who he chooses to “hate” (his own word)."

    While he may not have said anything to date so hateful in schools, when he purported to be a great role model...if he now continues to show up at schools and speak about anything, we all know what he really feels. Then what do we do? Maybe he will speak in schools and this time talk about his learned bigotry, that would something special. But let's us not hold our breath.

    As we did in LA years ago to get Dr. Laura off the air, we did not attack her 1st Amendment right to speak her mind (even if factual incorrect) we held the company of Viacom/Paramount accountable for airing the show. They saw they would lose money, brand recognition, faith of their LGBT employees, and respect for airing her show, so they dropped it.

    Go ahead people be biggots, but don't expect us to sit around and support anything you are doing while you alienate a portion of our society and undermine hundreds of years of battling for respect of all peoples.

    Posted by: Chip Arndt | Feb 16, 2007 7:47:28 PM


  23. Daniel,

    Fortunately or unfortunately we live in a capitalist country and your statement:

    "As to Hardaway's apology--I guess having your endorsment contracts cancelled would make anyone feel sorry."

    Actually is spot on. I don't have exact stats but I venture to say that many more moral, right things were done with their economic impact at the forefront of thought. Many scholars would say that is why the US civil war started, Iraq war, Korean Police Action (yeah right), finally coming out against apartheid in South Africa even when we knew it was dead wrong, Vietnam, The 10960's Civil Rights movement as Johnson needed Martin Luther's King's support to keep african americans in the armed forces to fight in Vietnam...do I need to go on?

    I would love for all right decisions to be made on the basis that they were right! Uortunately it happens far less times than one would hope or think and going after the "pocket book" has been a very, very, very effective to move social progess forward.

    And, as an aside, the recent "gay movement" is one of the most effective ever at using the power of the pocket book to move many, many policies foward...not all....but it is very interesting and powerful track record.

    Posted by: Chip Arndt | Feb 16, 2007 8:00:20 PM


  24. Hey guys, this idiot Hardaway (how gay is that name) owns a car wash and chicken wings business in Fla. Hit him in his wallet. Let him know how we feel. Here is the car wash info:
    Tim Hardaway US 1 Car Wash
    3501 S. Dixie Hwy
    Miami, FL 33133
    (305) 447-9998

    Posted by: Mike | Feb 15, 2007 10:26:27 PM

    hardawayshouseofwings.com

    Contact Information
    Email :
    INFO@HARDAWAYSHOUSEOFWINGS.COM
    Phone :
    305-569-7737
    Address :
    3809 GRAND AVENUE
    MIAMI
    FLORIDA
    33133
    UNITED STATES

    Posted by: Mike | Feb 16, 2007 8:19:50 PM


  25. I agree Chip, unfortunately, often it seems like the gay movement is only for rich gays and everyone else is left out. It's this mistaken idea that we should have equal rights because we're rich that alienates a lot of people too.

    But then, I guess all the gays who rioted at Stonewall were investment bankers.

    Posted by: Daniel | Feb 16, 2007 8:21:44 PM


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