Former NBA player Tim Hardaway expresses “hate” for gay people

MIAMI (TICKER) —Former NBA player Tim Hardaway offered hateful comments on his feelings toward gay people, but later regretted his remarks.

“You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people,” he said while a guest on Sports Talk 790 The Ticket on Wednesday. “I’m homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.”

Hardaway’s comments came in regard to last week’s announcement that retired NBA center John Amaechi is gay.

During the interview, Hardaway also was asked how he would deal with a gay teammate.

“First of all, I wouldn’t want him on my team,” Hardaway said. “Second of all, if he was on my team, I’d really distance myself from him. I don’t think he should be in the locker room when we are in the locker room.”

Hardaway also went on to say if he found out a teammate was gay he would ask for the player to be removed.

“I’d ask him to get traded. Something has to give,” Hardaway said. “The majority of the players would ask for him to be traded, or they would want to get traded. Or just buy him out of his contract and let him go.”

The first NBA player to openly acknowledge being gay, Amaechi detailed his life in his book entitled “Man in the Middle” which was released Wednesday.

Amaechi, a center for five seasons with Orlando, Utah and Cleveland who currently works as a TV personality in England, responded to Hardaway’s comments.

“I’m actually tempted to laugh,” Amaechi told The Miami Herald. “Finally, someone who is honest. It is ridiculous, absurd, petty, bigoted and shows a lack of empathy that is gargantuan and unfathomable. But it is honest. And it illustrates the problem better than any of the fuzzy language other people have used so far.”

Hardaway later apologized for his comments in an interview with Fox affiliate WSVN in Miami.

“Yes, I regret it. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said I hate gay people or anything like that,” Hardaway said. “That was my mistake.”

Hardaway, who retired after the 2002-03 season following a 13-year career, is in Las Vegas for All-Star Weekend. However, he has been removed from further league-related appearances.

“It is inappropriate for him to be representing us given the disparity between his views and ours,” NBA commissioner David Stern told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Very few male team sports members have publicly declared their homosexuality. Among them are former NFL players Esera Tuaolo, Roy Simmons, Dave Kopay and Jerry Smith and former baseball players Glenn Burke and Billy Bean.

No player has ever revealed their homosexuality while still playing and Amaechi was no different. However, it wasn’t the reaction of teammates that kept Amaechi from sharing his secret before now.

Because of his comments, he has been fired from his post of chief basketball operations advisor of the Indiana Alleycats of the CBA.


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Updated Thursday, Feb 15, 2007