Usually when a famous person goes on an offensive rant that flies in the face of tact or compassion or both at the same time, the real hope that stems from the expected fallout is that the voice behind the rant will come around to a more enlightened way of thinking. And not, as is usually the case, just issue the standard "to anyone I may have offended" apology before moving on.
Former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, who infamously and proudly stated his homophobia in a radio interview four years ago, has done a bit more than move on. Not only has he taken on a kinder view of the LGBT community, but he's also standing up for those who are trying to stand up for its rights. The Chicago native and Miami denizen was back in El Paso, Texas, this week (where he went college) to lend his support to a trio of politicians who are in danger of being recalled due to their stance on gay rights.
In town for a golf outing, Hardaway attended a press conference urging citizens to oppose recall efforts against Mayor John Cook and city Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega. The three are being recalled by a group of religious conservatives who are angry the three voted to restore health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees -- despite a ballot initiative in November that had abolished them.
I have absolutely no clue what other policies Cook, Byrd and Ortega might be supporting in their public service, but health benefits for loved ones? I think that's something most of us can get behind, right? And if you can't, perhaps take a breath and read what Hardaway did after telling a radio station in 2007 that gays "shouldn't be in the United States."
"I opened my eyes and went to counseling," he said Thursday.
And to those who are in the same place he was four years ago?
"I would say grow up and catch up with the times," he said. "It's all around the world."
Very cool. It doesn't take much, just an afternoon's time in the middle of a week of golf and summertime relaxation, to make a difference. Sweet crossover, Tim.