Ex-NBA Star: "I Hate Gay People"

Heat guard Tim Hardaway (top) pressures New York Knicks' guard Charlie Ward
REUTERS
Retired NBA guard Tim Hardaway said Wednesday that he hates gay people, but later said he regretted the 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. "I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

The discussion was sparked by last week's announcement that retired NBA center John Amaechi is gay.

Amaechi said Hardaway's anti-gay comments "demonstrate the need to continue the conversation."

"I don't need Tim's comments to realize there's a problem,'" Amaechi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Thursday. "People said that I should just shut up and go away — now they have to rethink that."

The host asked Hardaway how he would interact with a gay teammate.

"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team. And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that is right. I don't think he should be in the locker room while we are in the locker room."

If he did find out that a teammate was gay, Hardaway said 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."

Amaechi also detailed his life, in his autobiography "Man in the Middle," which was released Wednesday. He hoped his coming out would be a catalyst for intelligent discourse.

"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 the remarks during a telephone 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," he said. "That was my mistake."

Hardaway reportedly 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 said in a statement to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.