Former Miami Heat guard Tim Hardaway said on a radio show Wednesday afternoon that he would not want a gay player on his team.
"You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known," Hardaway said. "I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."
Hardaway was a guest of Miami Herald columnist Dan Le Batard on the Miami radio show Sports Talk 790 and was asked how he would deal with a gay teammate. When asked if he would accept an active player's coming out, such as that of retired NBA center John Amaechi, Hardaway replied: "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's right. And you know I don't think he should be in the locker room while we're in the locker room. I wouldn't even be a part of that," he said.
NBA Commissioner David Stern, upon learning of the remarks Wednesday, removed Hardaway from subsequent league-related appearances. "It is inappropriate for him to be representing us given the disparity between his views and ours," Stern said in a statement to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
Hardaway has been taking part in NBA festivities ahead of Sunday's All-Star game in Las Vegas and attended an NBA Cares outreach event at a city YMCA with Knicks forward Jerome Williams on Tuesday.
Amaechi, meanwhile, was quoted in Le Batard's column in Thursday's Miami Herald saying that he was grateful for Hardaway's words.
"Finally, someone who is honest. It is ridiculous, absurb, 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 saying he regretted the remarks, 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 played for five NBA teams from 1990-2003 and was a five-time All-Star. He finished with averages of 17.7 points and 8.2 assists.
My favorite part is Amaechi's response. It's true, at least he's honest. Although Mr. Hardaway will certainly get a pleasant letter from a certain Church.