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]

Comments

  1. says

    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 http://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

  2. Ed says

    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.

  3. rudy says

    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.

  4. Brian says

    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.

  5. patrick nyc says

    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.

  6. Da says

    “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!

  7. ShawnSF says

    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!

  8. john says

    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.

  9. says

    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.

  10. Daniel says

    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.

  11. Zeke says

    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?

  12. Zeke says

    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.

  13. says

    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.

  14. Zeke says

    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.

  15. says

    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.

  16. says

    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.

  17. Mike says

    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

  18. Daniel says

    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.

  19. patrick nyc says

    JOHN you say: “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.”

    Hardaway said: “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.”

    Hardaway also said that if he did find out that a teammate were gay, he would ask for the player to be removed from the team.
    “Something has to give,” Hardaway said. “If you have 12 other ballplayers in your locker room that’s upset and can’t concentrate and always worried about him in the locker room or on the court, or whatever, it’s going to be hard for your teammates to win and accept him as a teammate.”

    So John he is not just stating his opinion, he is saying that if he knew someone was gay when he played he ask to have him fired. Freedom of speech? Bullshit. He can spit out all the hate he likes, and his sponsors have the right to back him or fire his stupid ass.

    By the way this was the same defense whites used to keep blacks from serving in the same units during war. That whites would be thrown off by being in the same barracks or foxholes as blacks. Lets not forget them marrying our white woman, which was still used to defeat Ford in his Senate race in Tenn.

    ZEKE you must have missed my earlier post, I pointed out the
    ‘I should know better’ line, as well as calliing the freedom of speech bullshit, though we usually agree on most things.

  20. Frank says

    The statement from the Baldguyz CEU strikes me as subtley prejudiced.

    To: info@baldguyz.com

    I’ve emailed him to inquire:

    Please clarify the following statement by your CEO:
    ”BaldGuyz, like baldness, does not discriminate based on lifestyle choice, color, education, financial resources, religion, physical capabilities or in any other way.”

    To which “lifestyle choice” is he referring: basketball, baldness, or some other fashion choice? I’m certain, being a sensitive, modern person aware of his market that he would not imply that sexuality is a “lifestyle choice,” as that would be akin to referring to African-American basketball players as “negroes.”

    I appreciate your clarification.

  21. Ed says

    In my opinion, Mr. Hardaway is apologizing because of the effect his statements are having on his career. It will take years (generations) to erode the deep-seated hatred Mr. Hardaway has articulated. Meanwhile, let’s discourage this learned behavior by penalizing the teachers of this ignorance. Protest vehemently and let them feel it in their bank accounts. He was too ignorant to realize he would suffer consequences for his repugnant utterances. God bless him.

  22. RB says

    Hardaway…so he states “As an African American, I know all too well the negative thoughts and feelings hatred and bigotry cause”…what the hell?! Is that like saying I cannot be prejudice I have black friends?

    It would offend me far less to know my enemy and their feelings without the “masking” of an apology that is hardly heart felt. I would rather they state their true feelings and move on rather than make a week attempt to “apologize”! It was hardly heart felt.

  23. Zeke says

    I agree RB. I prefer an outspoken bigot to a stealthy one. At least I can keep an eye on them when I know who they are.

    By the way, welcome back to the Towleroad fold my friend.

  24. RS says

    It’s been hard not to notice that the TV news analysis of Tim Hardaway’s hate rant has often been so incredibly lacking. I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise, considering how the American sports media mostly mishandled John Amaechi’s coming out in the first place. Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley, on TNT’s prominent NBA broadcasts, took the cynical approach (one they curiously intended as the high ground) that NBA players don’t have issues with gay teammates and that Amaechi’s only reason for coming out was to sell a book. Charles, never the sharpest tool in the shed, was unwilling or unable to take the issue beyond this superficial, preposterously presumptive thought (and by the way, Charles, every appearance you make on TV pads your pockets, too; does that mean we should dismiss your diatribes as pure money-making schemes?). NBA players may be progressive compared to the neanderthals in the NFL and MLB, but not by much. All three leagues feature culturally challenged men obsessed with sandbox notions of masculinity, but also a startling number religious zealots who can be heard after games praising a God who they believe helps them win and helps their coincidentally God-fearing opponents lose. For Charles or Kenny to assert that such an atmosphere is likely to be one of tolerance for an out-of-the-closet baller is ludicrous. Hardaway’s comments, as Amaechi himself pointed out, are in this way a relief, for at least they cut through the kind of see-no-evil, hear-no-evil nonsense spouted by “analysts” like Barkley.

    This is exactly why people like Barkley are so ill-equipped to publicly moderate discussions on the matter. In the wake of Hardaway’s comments, Barkley said a gay teammate is a non-issue, that he, for instance, would be fine playing and showering and going out to road game dinners with such a person. Fair enough. Let’s assume, though, especially given Hardaway’s comments, that the same would not be true for every NBA player. The next step would be to analyze where this hatred comes from and why professional sports teams might be super-saturated representations of the greater homophobic population in the good ol’ US of A. But wait, doesn’t that homophobia and hatred come primarily from Western religion, and, in the case of American sports, specifically, Christianity? In that context, let’s entertain Barkley’s new favorite post-Hardaway sign-off on the topic: “Only God can judge people.” He means this, partly, as a way to say that he himself doesn’t judge Amaechi or other gay people. But the statement also points us to the widely-held belief that God, through Christian doctrine, does judge gay people and in fact damns them to hell. So why would we (or the NBA or Turner Broadcasting) want Barkley, a Christian regularly given to asserting his Christianity, attempting to publicly moderate a discussion about a negative and damaging cultural phenomenon (homophobia) when that same phenomenon is engendered by principles of a religion that the moderator (Barkley) himself admits to follow? Do you think anyone at TNT or in the NBA league office realizes that, in those moments when Barkley pretends to take the high ground by saying, “Only God can judge people,” he is, and they are by extension, actually perpetuating homophobia? This should be a major embarrassment for the league and for TNT, but I’m certain that it’s written off as nothing more than “Charles being Charles.”

    Part of the issue here is that, with an explosion of media and networks and broadcasts in general, there has been a greater “need” for more talking heads, along with a greater “need” for more entertaining and thus competitive talking heads, and this has resulted in a considerably larger talent pool with extremely meager credentials. Barkley is a direct result of this. Should someone with his lack of depth and perspective really be afforded an analyst’s job at TNT? This problem is slightly less conspicuous when he and Kenny and Ernie are jawing about basketball talent or strategy or Charles’ gut, but it’s writ large and rimmed in neon when they veer into social or cultural issues like homosexuality and tolerance. I wish I could say that this hiring trend was more than just a temporary low point on the sports continuum, but given the money involved and the ingrained corporate wisdom that lowest common denominator material is the easiest way to that money, I, unfortunately, don’t see it waning any time soon. Barkley, if he gets his wish, may end up in politics someday in the near future. And if present conditions are any indication, he’ll be welcomed with open, Republican arms in a profession that tolerates, even privileges, culturally-stunted men with little analytical skill and even less capacity to formulate their thoughts through language. Oh, goody.

  25. mark m says

    Um, RS obviously you are unaware of Charles Barkley’s recent statements that gays deserve the same benefits and marriage rights as anyone else. That’s hardly a homophobic stance. I have Christian friends who also say it’s up to God to judge and not people. That is also NOT a homophobic stance.

    You may be disheartened by any Christian who doesn’t immediately take the position that being gay is completely natural and not in conflict with Bible. But again, that does not make those people homophobic. Misguided perhaps but not hateful.

    Perfect is the enemy of good.

  26. peterparker says

    Jesus H. Christ, Frank…the CEO of baldguyz.com drops Hardaway as his company’s spokesman because of Hardaway’s bigoted remarks and, in a press release explaining the decision, he innocently and inadvertently implies that homosexuality is a choice and you feel the need to fire off an email castigating him for his error?! Can you not see that the man is doing his best to show support for our community?! Did it not occur to you that some people simply don’t understand that the term ‘lifestyle choice’ is both incorrect and somewhat offensive? And did you fail to consider that, instead of a bitchy email, this person deserves a note of appreciation and a respectful explanation that ‘sexual orientation’ is a more sensitive and correct term for homosexuality? Apparently, not. Instead, you shoot first and ask questions later.

    I would encourage everyone reading this to send a note to the CEO of baldguyz.com expressing appreciation for his show of support and respect for the gay community. The email address is: info@baldguyz.com.

    peterparker

  27. Zeke says

    I think Frank’s heart was in the right place but I agree with PeterParker that he could have handled it in a more positive and productive way.

    Perhaps PeterParker could have handled Frank a bit more positively and productively as well.

    I’m taking PP’s lead and contacting Baldguys.com with a note of support.

  28. Zeke says

    Here is my email to baldguys.com

    Baldguys,

    I just wanted to drop you a note to say Thank You for taking action against Tim Hardaway for his inappropriate and public, homophobic outburst. I firmly believe in freedom of speech. However, I also believe that this freedom, and ALL freedoms, come with responsibilities and consequences, especially when a person is a well paid spokesman for a company that does not share his bigoted opinions. Hardaway has a right to be homophobic and he has a right to express his homophobia, but when he has a microphone in his face, Baldguys.com, and the NBA, have a right to expect him to behave in a way that doesn’t reflect badly on their products since he is a well known spokesman for their companies.

    I’m certain you have been receiving heated, rude and inappropriate responses to your use of the term “lifestyle choice”. Though I take exception with your word choice, since homosexuality is neither a lifestyle nor a choice, I believe that those of us in the gay community should take such opportunities to educate people to encourage progress rather than attack people for honest mistakes. That just results in our making enemies out of our friends. Please be aware that gay people have been abused and oppressed for years by people who use terms such as “homosexual agenda”, “anti-family” and “lifestyle choice” so they often react defensively, and all too often angrily, to anyone who uses those terms even when they use them innocently. Please accept my apology for any hateful responses you have received from my community.

    We have a ways to go in our community to achieve social tolerance, much less acceptance. We also have a ways to go in understanding the most effective way to achieve these goals, but with straight allies such as yourself our journey is made just a bit less arduous and our goals seem a bit more attainable.

    Thanks again for your thoughtful and courageous public stand against bigotry.

    Sincerely,
    Zeke ***********

    Thanks Frank and PeterParker for the heads up.

  29. rudy says

    I also sent a letter to Baldguys that was eerily similar to Zeke’s. (I will not post it to save space.) I hope they do not think that it is a “form letter” so often churned out by the politico-bigots that allege the “homosexual agenda” strawman. As chief of staff to a government official in my earlier career and later general counsel for a large commercial concern, I can assure you that letters are read and much appreciated by those that take unpopular stands. The bigots are surely writing to Baldguys to castigate them for doing the right thing and disassociating themselves from a bigoted spokesman. I urge as many as possible here to follow Frank’s, PeterParker’s, and Zeke’s lead to express our support for Baldguys’ genuinely courageous stand against homophobia. Please do not let our justifiable negative reaction against the use of “lifestyle choice” cause us to pass up the opportunity to stand with and thank our supporters, however inartfully worded. John Amaechi’s beautiful soul and actions are having so many postivie repercussive effects. Let us seize the opportunity to compound the educational opportunities. (Whew! This post is a bit “high hat” but chalk it up to lawyers being paid by the word.)

  30. peterparker says

    Zeke, you are right. I could have handled Frank more sensitively, but I made the choice not to. That was stupid and not very kind of me. Frank…I hope you will accept my apologies…your heart *was* in the right place!

    xo
    peterparker

  31. Scott says

    Mark: you seem confused by RS’s point. He did point out that Barkley claimed he “would be fine playing and showering and going out to road game dinners with such a person,” and that “he himself doesn’t judge Amaechi or other gay people.” What RS is focusing on is the contradiction in Barkley’s statements. If he says he supports gay people, why insist on contextualizing the issue with a Christian God’s judgment? That judgment, after all, states that homosexuality is wrong and that those who practice it doom their souls to an eternity in hell. There’s just no way around it – these are contradictory beliefs. How is believing that your neighbor’s soul is destined to burn in hell not “hateful?” Can you smile and feel good about yourself and your neighbor while you’re thinking that?

    More so, what Barkley’s assertion of God’s judgment in these matters does is provide solid social support for the more vocal gay haters out there. See, they and Barkley share the fundamental belief that God curses gay people. The fact that Barkley contradicts himself in public on the matter I’m sure is not lost on many of the ultra-angry gay haters, who say to themselves, “If God says it ain’t right, then it just ain’t right.” They would argue that a country’s laws and general social responses should be manifestations of God’s Word.

    Barkley himself does seem to be a confused individual. His vocal support on this issue is appreciated, but his insistence on also tagging it with the asterisk that a Christian God has the ultimate (damn you to hell) say-so is the opposite of progressive, generous, and open minded.

  32. mark m says

    “How is believing that your neighbor’s soul is destined to burn in hell not “hateful?”

    Where did Barkley say that he believes gay people will burn in hell?

    No where.

    Stop taking your mistrust of the Bible in general and applying it to the intentions of all Christians. You do not speak for all gays when you do.

  33. Scott says

    Then tell me, Mark, why it is relevant for Barkley to reference God’s judgment in a conversation about homosexuality?

    And also tell me what you believe the Bible to say, specifically, regarding homosexuality. Because, who knows, maybe you have a completely different understanding about the teachings of the Bible than I do.

    Also, who said I or RS was trying to speak for gay people? Neither of us did. You may if you’d like, but I think a lot people would disapprove. I, on the other hand, am talking about the application and misapplication of reason as it relates to television discussions of homosexuality.

  34. Zeke says

    I think there is something refreshingly honest and socially respectable when a person of faith says, “I don’t know if X, Y or Z is right or wrong. It’s not my place to make a judgment. I’ll just treat people with respect and kindness, just like I want people to treat me, and I’ll leave the judgment as to if they are sinning or not to God.”

    I may disagree with their religious belief that X, Y or Z is a sin but I can live with their belief as long as they don’t impose it on me or use it to discriminate against me.

    I hear wonderful, very gay positive Christian friends of mine say, “let God be the judge” all the time and I know for a fact that they aren’t referring to hell fire and brimstone. They are referring to the fact that they find Him/Her to be perfection and the only entity in a position to judge what’s right or wrong.

    When someone asks if it is a “sin” for a starving child to steal a piece of bread many religious people would say, “I don’t think so, but technically I don’t know, God is the only one who could judge”. I think that is a thoughtful and reasonable answer and I don’t think the responder would be talking about God throwing the child into hell fire.

    I certainly understand RS’s point, though I think it is painting with too wide a brush.

    Many Christians are VERY gay positive and gay supportive, and, clutch the pearls….gay. I know, I am one. Many others are personally conflicted about reconciling what they’ve been taught and what they personally feel and personally believe. Many of these Christians treat gay people with total respect and acceptance because they take Christ’s admonition to, “Judge not lest you be likewise judged”, seriously. I have a lot of respect for these Christians. The only ones I take exception to are those who claim to know the mind of God and claim to speak on His/Her behalf.

    Andrew Sullivan, a gay, Catholic, Christian and a traditional conservative blogger speaks a lot about the importance of doubt, even in faith. I think he’s hit the nail on the head and I personally think that that is what Charles Barkley is attempting to express.

    I think we need to challenge bigotry at every turn but we need to not mistake our friends for enemies and we certainly don’t want to make enemies out of friends by being overly critical of those who are, in their own way, from their own perspective and in their own words, trying to be supportive of our community; sometimes from within in a hostile environment.

    I, and others, have said it many times before, in different ways, but I think it bears repeating:

    The refusal to accept anything less that perfection is the greatest impediment to progress.

  35. RB says

    Thanks Zeke. It’s good to be back. Now, to address Hardaway in the manner by which he deserves. I do believe members of minorities should hold a greater responsibility to those in similar situations and yes, gays are fighting for equal rights just like those before us! His comments were shameful, and intolerant.

    However, what is worse is his flip/flop attitude. How can anyone believe his apology? How can anyone treat him with any integrity whatsoever? While I agree with Chip Arndt’s letter I cannot understand why anyone would follow his direction: “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.” Can a simple public apology change lives? Should ANY GLBT PERSON EVER PATRONIZE HIS BUSINESS?! I think NOT! He deserves the boycot and any and all financial loss as a result of it.

    I think it is dangerous to accept a public apology and then go about business as usual knowing that the person will privately return to their true beliefs! Shameful? What is shameful is that there will be some of us that accept said apologies that are given in order to protect a career or income instead of being from a place of education or heartfelt.

    Simply stated, Hardaway deserves what is coming his way. AND MORE!

  36. mark m says

    Scott, nowhere in the bible does it say that gays will “burn in hell.” So God’s judgment does not refer to the afterlife, but merely to how God views individuals and their choices.

    “Then tell me, Mark, why it is relevant for Barkley to reference God’s judgment in a conversation about homosexuality?”

    I think Zeke quite effectively explained that. I pose a question to you, then. Why is it relevent to condemn the motives of a person who is supportive of our community’s rights even if he may have a viewpoint that we don’t all agree on (i.e. being gay is a sin – if indeed he feels that way)?

    Are you not the least bit concerned (again as Zeke put it) of making enemies out of friends.

    Another saying comes to mind. “Choose your battles.”

  37. Scott says

    Mark, a dialog with you has become more than a bit tedious, as you have proven yourself intent on using obfuscations and answering by not answering at all. See: Tony Snow, Ari Fleischer, et al. Furthermore, you and I are talking about two completely different things: you are concerned primarily with strategies; I am concerned primarily with realities.

    Thanks for the reply, Zeke. I appreciate your analysis and I think you make some good points. I concede that it’s possible that Barkley’s “Only God can judge” statements were meant as a way to convey a genuine humility and lack of personal judgment. Of course, it’s also possible he meant them as overtures to the ultimate wrath of God upon gay people. I actually don’t believe the latter, and I’m more interested in a third possibility.

    Beyond the religious extremists known to spout hate and intolerance, there are so many permutations of religiosity, each formed, in part, by emphasizing passages from the bible and deemphasizing others. Such followers become, in a way, editors of the bible, much in the way other random humans themselves (each with his own interests and perversions and social constraints) edited the text over hundreds of years to fashion it into what only the most dubious and incurious of contemporary followers contend is an “inviolable” text. One manifestation of the mental multiplicity of the bible is, to get quickly into specifics, a Christian person who has gay friends or acquaintances and appreciates and respects them in a genuine way but who also has deep religious convictions consistent with the bible’s well-documented condemnation of homosexuality (and, yes, I’m aware, and many others are aware, that Jesus’s personal love and respect for others seemed to have no boundaries, and that this lies in contradiction to much of the material in the bible). This is a person caught between two worlds, really: one more progressive and loving and respectful of others, and the other leaning heavily on a deeply-seated sense of Right and Wrong that was instilled during his most vulnerable, youthful years by the people he respected most (his parents and, often, community leaders). A person like this is apt, then, as a very human reaction, to express kindness and love toward gay people. But this same person may make a distinction between this reaction and his firm (or, at least, semi-firm, with reference to the “doubt” you mention, Zeke) belief that homosexuality is wrong, and, that there will be consequences for this “wrong-ness,” eternal consequences. This sort of person is either not aware of or passively suppresses this conflict in his world-view, and the only way to access the damnation belief system is to inquire of the person as to the exact parameters of his religious belief. I believe Charles Barkley could be, along with thousands of others, this type of Christian. And I do think that, when asserted in suggestive phrases such as “Only God can judge” in discussions of Christian hot-button issues like homosexuality, it is harmful and does provide a pseudo-respectable foundation for other (sometimes more intense) feelings and expressions of disgust, condemnation, and hate.

    If, by way of contrast, Barkley does not have a gay-condemnation belief, and he has the faintest understanding that the single largest opposition to the acceptance of homosexuality in society is the deep-rooted concept of God judging and condemning gay people, he might simply choose other words than “Only God can judge people” to express his supposed belief that he is, personally, incapable of judging people. “No one should judge anyone else,” might be a good alternative. There is an infinite number of better phrases to use in that circumstance.

    Regardless of Barkley’s motives or lack thereof, there’s another point here that needs addressing. We live in a country and world populated not just with Christians, but also with Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Pagans, Wiccans, Sikhs, and, yes, Satanists. Many of these belief systems are represented by players in Barkley’s NBA. To assert that a single god holds the final say on condemnation communicates to pantheists that the speaker does not respect his own viewpoint. To assert that there is a god at all who lords over such issues of condemnation communicates to atheists that the speaker does not agree with his own views of moral justice and personal freedom. So, again, what I’ll say here, and to agree with RS, is that someone who recklessly asserts his Christianity into a discussion about homosexuality in this world of so many belief systems is someone who should be cut loose from a job that asks of him to responsibly analyze such issues in a worldly, educated context. This is not to say, as has been suggested, that any of us here, gay or straight, make Barkley our “enemy.” But it is to say that we all deserve better friends. Those friends are out there. In the world of basketball analysis, their names are David Aldridge, Ernie Johnson, Chris Sheridan, Michael Wilbon, Marc Stein, Ric Bucher, Chad Ford, and Dan Le Batard. They are professional analysts, not merely amusing former players who don’t understand that they are being asked to put aside their own religious beliefs for a moment and to acknowledge their responsibility of respecting a diverse audience. Although I’ve read countless articles penned by these men and watched them on TV dozens of time, I have no idea of their particular religious convictions or lack thereof. And that’s the way it should be, as, 1) their religious convictions, should they exist, are of no relevance to the wider, diverse audience, and, 2) there are far more effective ways of making one’s point in a logical manner than to try to relate everything to a single, ancient text. Turner Broadcasting should acknowledge their responsibility to their diverse audience by placing professional, responsible analysts like Aldridge and Bucher in situations where analysis of cultural or social significance will occur. To do less is to be negligent and potentially offensive on a regular basis.

    Lastly, I’ve noticed several people in this forum ending their posts with a saying about the demand for perfection being the greatest barrier to progress. This has the ring of Ghandi to it, and it is quite a catchy phrase. But I’ll add that another major impediment to progress is that of society habitually excusing ignorance. We have to call people on this ignorance if we expect it to change.

  38. Da says

    “So, again, what I’ll say here, and to agree with RS, is that someone who recklessly asserts his Christianity into a discussion about homosexuality in this world of so many belief systems is someone who should be cut loose from a job that asks of him to responsibly analyze such issues in a worldly, educated context.”
    Posted by: Scott |

    That was brilliantly said. Just brilliant. I think your post could be summed up by this sentence.

    It’s amazing the many (irresponsible) forms of journalism and media communication we’ve been trained to accept as given…”It’s their opinion” or “it’s free speech” are cliched catch phrases that have come to excuse everything.

    And Scott, I generally agree that the LGBT community shouldn’t have to settle for tolerance. It’s not about convincing everyone to like us (they’re free to hate at home no doubt) but full, equal rights for our people implies equal treatment of the homosexual question in the media. Cause it’s indeed condescending within secular media to evoke the bible solely when addressing matters of LGBT life. It doesn’t happen when discussing hetero celeb couples shacking up, so don’t tell me it’s a matter of America being ‘religious’.

  39. astraightblackfemalerjew says

    in the aarp magazine, coretta scott king said (paraphrase) her husband gave his life for the cause, her single, childless children gave their lives for the cause and she gave her life for the cause. who is she to say one group deserves equal rights and another doesn’t? and she’s a born again. if it’s good enough for her it should be good enough for every body else.

  40. Scott says

    Thanks for the thoughts, DA. You’re right; the bible is almost never evoked by the media in dozens of other situations where it could be considered a “moral authority” by religious nuts. And this notion of “tolerance” is used by these same people to mean “I can condemn you and freely express myself about doing so, and as long as I don’t keep you from getting a job or refuse you service or physically harm you, then it’s okay.” We should be beyond that as a culture (Amaechi himself said, after Hardaway’s non-apology, “I resent the idea I have to be tolerated”), and what keeps this kind of archaic thinking around is the presumed safety and power of mainstream religious cults. Especially with Christianity, people can believe that not only is God’s Word (as invented and thoroughly edited by a bunch of bigoted, hateful quacks centuries ago) the ultimate say so in matters of morality, but also that, because they are in the majority in the US, that this somehow affords them further righteousness and moral reign over all activities in the land. One of the biggest problems is that these people are mostly coddled – by the media, by their local community, by apologists in this very forum. People have become so used to excusing the bigotry and ignorance of those involved in “heritage” cults. Isn’t it time more people ask themselves, “Why would I tolerate bigotry and ignorance from a Christian any more than I would the same from a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? It’s all just nonsense built upon nonsense.

    And, by the way, Hardaway held an interview with Scoop Jackson that appeared today on ESPN in which Hardaway’s main point is to say that he doesn’t “hate” anybody, but he does reserve the right to tell anyone their lifestyle is immoral, and the reason why is because he was brought up that way (read: religiously). Jackson coddles Hardaway as much as possible, himself delivering perplexing lines like, “I think you picked the wrong time to be honest.” So, when you’re with trusted friends, Scoop – that’s a perfect time to express your hatred of gay people? He also finishes the interview with the classic religious mumbo-jumbo line that “everything in life happens for a reason.” Yeah, God told you to hate gay people, Tim, and is now testing your resolve in hating gay people by making a huge part of the population hate you. That’s totally what’s going on here.

  41. Da says

    “Jackson coddles Hardaway as much as possible, himself delivering perplexing lines like, “I think you picked the wrong time to be honest.” So, when you’re with trusted friends, Scoop – that’s a perfect time to express your hatred of gay people? ”
    Posted by: Scott |

    There’s nothing funny about it, but I noted that same line and wanted to burst out laughing. Cause it basically contradicted the whole premise of what the interviewer said he was aiming to do : so there he revealed that he’s essantially blaming Hardaway for losing his cool, and chosing the wrong platform to express his hatred – Not really for holding such beliefs in the first place.

    The problem is that a lot of people think like Tim Hardaway, EVEN when they’re not religious. They simply know they can use religion as justification for their hatred, and everyone will approve. The hatred comes first, and it’s not even rooted in religion.

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