Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Scoop on Tim Hardaway

It is not a holiday, and I certainly don’t know when his birthday is but I would like to purchase a gift for Mr. Tim Hardaway. That gift would be a small piece of advice. Right now, as Mr. Hardaway continues to dig himself into a deeper ditch he could certainly use it.

Weeks ago when I heard the comments Mr. Hardaway made about hating gay people I thought his statements were ignorant, offensive and above all reckless. Since his initial unveiling of his honesty as it relates to homosexuality and homosexuals he has publicly apologized for his words but never his feelings. He is very clear that he is truly not sorry for the intent of what he said. He is sorry that people heard him.

As a public figure with an image to maintain it is not at all acceptable to speak words of hate and it should not be tolerated. On a basic human level it is also reprehensible. Some comments are better kept to yourself. You don’t even have to read a book to know that, somewhere along the way everyone has heard the adage that if you don’t have anything nice to say – don’t say anything at all. That is the advice I would offer Mr. Hardaway.

While some time has passed and the initial shock factor of what Mr. Hardaway said has worn off a bit and I’ve seen less and less about it on television and online newspapers I have been granted the opportunity by to become completely disgusted and deeply disturbed all over again by more comments made by him in a more recent interview.

Why am I disturbed? Mr. Hardaway says,I have to walk on eggshells. Not knowing what to expect from people. Not sleeping at night because of what someone may do. Staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning thinking that someone may jump my fence and set my house on fire. Or someone try to break in and hurt us. We just went to the movies the other day and that's what I had running through my mind, how were people going to react? "Is someone going to do something real, real, real crazy to one of us?" I have no idea what people may do. And I'm going to have to be that way for a long time now, because you never know. You never know.”

Mr. Hardaway you are not the victim! The victims are young boys and girls who heard your initial comments and because you are a former professional basketball player think that they too now have permission to hate a group of people. The victims are young boys and girls who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning who go to school with the other children you intentionally or unintentionally through your words and behavior gave permission to pick on, bully and intimidate their classmates.

Mr. Hardaway the victims are gays and lesbians and people who are perceived as gays and lesbians who every day of their lives are stereotyped, persecuted, discriminated against and physically, mentally abused. If you think you are afraid of someone doing harm to you or your family because of what you said just imagine what gays and lesbians feel like and have felt like their entire lives being afraid to simply love someone else.

I am overwhelmed by your unmitigated gall and audacity to talk about how you don’t know what someone may do to you and that you will have to be on the look out for a long time now. People who live their lives for and to their best without saying a word about anyone but are ridiculed for simply living their lives, those gay people you stay away from, are attacked daily with words, sticks and stones. Those are the people who have to be on the look out.

Call the mother of Michael Sandy and tell her that you have to be on the look out Mr. Hardaway. Call the mother of Tyra Hunter and tell her that you have to be on the look out Mr. Hardaway. Call the mother of JR Warren and tell her that you have to be on the look out. Call the mother of Matthew Shepard and tell her that you have to be on the look our Mr. Hardaway.

Your words reinforced to millions of people, particularly young people who are most often influenced by celebrity athletes that there isn’t a need for tolerance. The further comments by Mr. Hardaway suggest that we can all live in a society in which we just go around hating people and living our lives in a bubble and never connect with people who aren’t like us. What a sad and ignorant existence that would be.

My plea now is that Mr. Hardaway will just stop speaking. Please. Just don’t speak publicly anymore. It seems as if he has ruined his reputation already and if he continues talking it will only get worse for him and those listening.