Will Tim Hardaway have to ‘seek counseling’ now?

As you’ve probably already heard by now, former NBA star Tim Hardaway is taking some major heat for remarks he recently made about the idea of playing alongside a gay man in the NBA:

“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 in Miami. “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. 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.”

He’s since apologized:

He 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.”

The reactions to Hardway’s comments, are of the usual outraged variety because, well, Tim Hardaway’s prejudice against gay people sounds just like the prejudice one used to routinely hear about black people. It was shocking in a similar way that actor Mel Gibson’s comments were about Jews, except Hardaway wasn’t drunk when he said what he did.

A few points in general on this for discussion purposes:

1) Re: Hardaway’s remark about the locker room, which obviously implies that he doesn’t want a gay man watching him undress or in the shower. I guess in some respects it would depend on what sex you are. As a woman, I don’t mind working with men, hanging out with them, being friends with them, and it’d be the same thing with lesbians. I don’t mind working with them, hanging out with them, being friends with them. But I would no more want to take a shower with male friends than I would lesbians, for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who is interested in examining the issue calmly rather than issuing a knee-jerk reaction to it. It has nothing to do with having ‘hang ups’ about sex. Unless that man is my husband (and for some women it could be their boyfriend), I don’t want him in the shower with me. Same same for a lesbian. I would not knowingly shower with a man who wasn’t my husband anymore than I would a lesbian.

I don’t mean this in a chauvenistic way, but men in general are a little different when it comes to their bodies. Heck, most guys I know would love to get in the shower with several women (LOL) but would have issues being in the shower with a gay male because the idea of a man possibly looking at them in the way a woman would makes them uncomfortable. Should that ‘discomfort’ be cause for discrimination? No. But all the same, it shouldn’t be dismissed anymore than a woman’s discomfort should be at the idea of a man who isn’t her husband or boyfriend showering with her (in a gym/sports setting). Where should the lines be drawn, ‘if’ they should be drawn at all?

2) How long will it be before someone suggests he needs counseling a la Grey’s Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington, who recently ‘sought counseling’ after being roundly criticized for homophobic remarks he made to a gay co-star? And why is it that only select offenders are asked to seek counseling, while others who make hateful remarks about Christians, whites, etc are not? Double standard at play? Oh yes, indeed.


PM Update: I’m grateful for the recognition this post received from Aaron Krane at Technorati’s Buzz TV, but regret that a typo of mine made it onto the vid ;) Watch here:

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