Nation's Largest Gay Rights Organization Commends NBA for Action Against Homophobic Remarks

by HRC Staff

NBA Calls Hardaway's Remarks 'Inappropriate'

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, quickly praised the National Basketball Association for its condemnation of vicious, anti-gay remarks made last night by former Miami Heat player Tim Hardaway.

"We commend the National Basketball Association for sending a very clear and decisive message that homophobia does not belong on, or off, the basketball court," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Mr. Hardaway was sorely mistaken if his intent was to spew homophobic, hate-filled remarks without any consequences. We are thankful for the NBA's swift action and believe these remarks are being seen for the un-American, un-sportsmanlike conduct they are."

"These comments reinforce the need to continue to have a dialogue on this topic, something I have been saying all along," said the Human Rights Campaign's National Coming Out Spokesman and author John Amaechi. "The more this issue is discussed, the less likely homophobia will be able to hide and that is a positive development not just for the NBA, but for the entire country as a whole."

Yesterday, in an interview with 790 the Ticket's host Dan Le Batard, former Miami Heat player Tim Hardaway was asked about the recent groundbreaking coming out of former NBA star John Amaechi as openly gay. Hardaway commented, "Well, you know, I hate gay people. I let it be known, I don't like gay people. I don't like to be around gay people. Yeah, I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world, or in the United States. So, yeah, I don't like it."

The National Basketball Association took quick action and immediately removed Hardaway from any further appearances representing the NBA. NBA Commissioner David Stern issued the following statement: "It is inappropriate for him to be representing us given the disparity between his views and ours."

Hardaway apologized for his comments later saying, "Yes, I regret it. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said I hate gay people or anything like that. That was my mistake."

"Quite frankly, Mr. Hardaway's apology seems rather transparent and self-centered," continued Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "However, this story is less about Tim Hardaway and more about the need for continuing to expose the homophobia that has too often been present in professional sports."

Earlier in the week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban commented about the positive affects of having an openly gay NBA player. Cuban encouraged gay players to come out, saying, "You would be an absolute hero to more Americans than you can ever possibly be as an athlete, and that'll put money in your pocket."

Only a day before Hardaway's homophobic comments, Cuban responded to a generic question regarding homophobia by saying, "On the flip side, if you're the idiot who condemns somebody because they're gay, then you're going to be ostracized, you're going to be picketed and you're going to ruin whatever marketing endorsements you have."

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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