Actually, Mr. Hardaway, I think you really do hate gay people

Tim Hardaway tells Scoop Jackson, “I don’t have a hate bone in my body.” That’s interesting considering that in the same interview he has the following exchange with Jackson:

But still you have issues with gays?

I still don’t accept their lifestyle. No.

And you stand on that?

Yes. You know, we were brought up to not even condone or associate yourself with a gay person. If you knew of a gay person, disassociate yourself with them.

But Tim, you’ve been in Miami for years now and there is a strong and public gay community there. How have you still held on to that same mentality while living in Miami all of these years?

I just get away from it. I just walk away. I see it, I just go the other way, cross the street.

So at no point did you ever try to understand their lifestyle or way of life?

No. Never did. Never wanted to.

Do you want to now?

No. I don’t want to … try to find some type of understanding of why they live the way they live or why they are the way they are. Maybe I could go to therapy, maybe someone can help me out with understanding [them], the sensitivity of the issue. But as a person, my beliefs are my beliefs. I don’t have to condone it and I don’t have to be around it. But I don’t have to hate it either.

Later on, Hardaway explains the origins of his homophobia.

When we was growing up Scoop, if we saw gay people or whatever, we ran across the street. We got away from them. Our parents, our friends, our families knew that that wasn’t right. We didn’t want to be around that and they definitely didn’t want us kids around it. And it’s not that they hated gay people, they just felt they it wasn’t right. Let them do what they want to do. And that was my experience when I was growing up. Not acknowledging them.

See, Hardaway doesn’t hate gay people. He just runs away from them when he sees them on the street, that’s all. There’s at least a glimmer of hope near the end of the interview.

Right now, learning. Learning that gay people are really no different than a lot of other people. Learning that they work hard, they do things in the community, they are responsible for building parks, rec centers, providing safe environments for kids, just things I had never associated with them before. [This last week] has opened up my eyes to the gay population and what they do. I’m getting a lot of knowledge about them that I didn’t have.

There’s a lot more in the interview, including Hardaway’s revelation that someone he knew had some sort of a scarring gay experience in a Catholic school growing up and that he wouldn’t be such good friends with Jackson any more if Scoop were to reveal that he’s gay. Classy!

Also, I don’t really understand why they harp so much on fearing violence from gay rights supporters now in the aftermath of Hardaway’s remarks. Have people actually been attacked physically for taking a stand against gay rights before? I always thought that sort of violence happened the other way around.

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