Four years ago, former Miami Heat guard Tim Hardaway said, “You know, I hate gay people… I am homophobic… It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.” After his pocketbook took a hit he turned around and said “I don’t hate gay people,” and since then, he has made an honest, heartfelt effort to speak out in support of LGBT-issues. Most recently, Hardaway flew in from Miami to El Paso to defend the politicians who re-instated for the city’s gay domestic partner benefits.
Sports Illustrated reports:
Rus Bradburd, the assistant on Don Haskins staff who recruited Hardaway to UTEP, was in El Paso for the event and said Hardaway was there for the right reasons. “Tim has shown great compassion in re-thinking his position,” said Bradburd. “It’s one thing for a celebrity to apologize as damage control. But in this case, Tim has taken a much bigger step: he’s pushing for the correct cause now, and equated the movement with Civil Rights struggles of the past. And the fact that he’s pushing for equal rights in a place that is not exactly the national stage makes his move even more authentic.”
Openly gay ex-NBA player John Amechi also said, “It seems to me that this is a far more genuine piece of outreach … I hope this is a story of true redemption rather than a savvy p.r. ploy. Either way, he is at least saying the right words, and that will make a positive difference.”
Since his infamous homophobia line in 2007, Hardaway became a regular face at the Yes Institute, which fights for queer kids. At the time of his anti-gay ‘rehabilitation’ Hardaway said, “I just wanted to go in and get educated, that’s all. Get educated on what I said and why I said those things. I’m working on understanding it now. I’m not really trying to make amends. I’ve been there trying to get help. I had no idea how much I hurt people. A lot of people. I have taken steps and I’m happy that I did. If I didn’t, I’d still be naive about it, ignorant about the whole thing. But I can talk about it now. I’m a polite person. That’s how I am.”