Once an avowed homophobe, Tim Hardaway says he has grown up and changed his views on homosexuality.
Hardaway, a standout at the University of Texas at El Paso and a five-time NBA all-star, got into hot water in 2007 when he went on the radio and said, “You know, I hate gay people, so let it be known,” according to the ESPN website. “I don’t like gay people and I don’t want to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the United States.”
Faced with a backlash from friends, family and the NBA, Hardaway quickly apologized for what he said.
“I opened my eyes and went to counseling,” he said Thursday.
Now, with a different attitude and outlook, Hardaway is trying to make a difference in El Paso, Texas, where he played his college ball. The city’s Mayor, along with two city representatives, face a recall vote over the restoration of health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees. A ballot initiative had abolished those benefits, but the Mayor and representatives restored them, leading to the recall efforts.
Hardaway spoke out yesterday in support of those benefits, a 180 degree turn from where he once stood.
“I would say grow up and catch up with the times,” he said. “It’s all around the world.”
Hardaway’s progression is impressive when you consider where he was. The comments he made in 2007 were as bad as it gets. It proves that anyone can change when given the right guidance and perspective.
And Hardaway’s turnaround carries a bit more significance in some ways than, say, Grant Hill’s efforts because of where Hardaway was. For those who share his former views, Hardaway’s change in attitude can show that they might be wrong about what they’re thinking. And for long-time supporters of gay rights, they can latch on to Hardaway as an example of “if he can change, so can you.”
Views on this are changing world-wide. It’s nice to see someone like Hardaway see the error of his ways and mature.