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Unlikely Ally: NBA Star Tim Hardaway Supports LGBT Equality

Unlikely Ally: NBA Star Tim Hardaway Supports LGBT Equality


In 2007, NBA star Tim Hardaway drew criticism after making homophobic remarks on a Miami radio show. “I hate gay people,” the former Miami Heat player declared. “I don’t like to be around gay people. I’m homophobic.”

Now, to the surprise of many advocates, Hardaway has come out in support of LGBT equality. “My family and friends came to me and were like, ‘What are you doing?’” he told ABC-7 in El Paso, TX, explaining his reversed views. “I talked to them and they made me understand that [homophobia] wasn’t right.”

Hardaway, 44, appeared in El Paso last Thursday to speak at a press conference on behalf of the “No Recall Group,” an organization fighting against the recall of El Paso mayor John Cook and city representatives Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega. Cook, Byrd and Ortega are under attack from local conservative groups for voting to reinstate domestic partner benefits for city employees.

“It’s not right to not let the gays and lesbians have equal rights here,” Hardaway told the crowd, adding that he hopes “the city will grow and understand that gays and lesbians need equal rights.”

Sports Illustrated’s Dave Zirin spoke with John Amaechi, the first former NBA player to come out of the closet and the implicit target of Hardaway’s original tirade. Back in 2007, Amaechi said, Hardaway’s response to the LGBT community seemed like little more than “emergency rehab” for the star’s reputation.

“However, it seems to me that this is a far more genuine piece of outreach,” Amaechi said of Hardaway’s recent public position. “I hope this is a story of true redemption rather than a savvy P.R. ploy … [but] either way, he is at least saying the right words, and that will make a positive difference.”

Hardaway has also been working with LGBT rights groups in Miami, ABC-7 reported.

“[If Hardaway can have a] change of heart, anybody can,” said Rep. Byrd.


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Photo credit: Benson Kua (Creative Commons Share Alike)

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4:53AM PDT on Aug 25, 2011

Thanks for the article.

7:27PM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

A step in the right direction....

2:01PM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

I hope he is truly sincere in his change of heart. We need more public allies willing to fight for us.

7:55AM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

I hope that he means it. I'm glad that his friends and family let him know why his views were wrong and that he had the intelligence to move away from such a pathetic viewpoint and attitude.

6:35AM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

Good for him. But if he truly wants equality for the LGBT community he needs to confront the congress and ask why ENDA was Stalled in a Democrat controlled Senate. I find it sickening that someone can still be fired in several states... for no other reason than they happen to be a Lesbian or a Homosexual. ENDA passed the house. It should have passed the Senate as well (especially since the Republicans still didn't have the 'filabuster' at that time)!

6:29AM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

His current position wouldn't seem to be just back pedaling to counter bad publicity for his original anti-gay remarks as those were in 2007 and it is now 2011. I think he has really revised his opinion for whatever his reasons. Now if only more homophobes would follow his example.

2:09PM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

There is hope that some people can have a change of heart and mean it. Discrimination is wrong period.

2:04PM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

Allan Y. I agree with you....

1:34PM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

Hopefully, he means what he says, and is not trying to back pedal on potentially bad publicity.

1:15PM PDT on Aug 23, 2011

There's hope yet! Thanks Tim

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