The former NBA star Tim Hardaway (pictured) who once proclaimed, “I hate gay people,” was reportedly the first person to sign a petition to put the controversial issue of gay marriage back on the ballot in Florida, reports the Detroit Free Press.
During a 2007 Miami sports radio interview, the former Golden State Warrior point guard responded to the “coming out” announcement of NBA player Don Amaechi. At the time, Hardaway told the interviewer that he would try to distance himself from fellow players who are homosexual. When asked by the radio interviewer whether he realized that his remarks were homophobic, Hardaway’s retort was, “Well, you know I hate gay people, so I let it be known. 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.” The married Father of two then went on to state that if he found out a fellow teammate was gay, then he would have them fired.
After the interview, Hardaway issued an apology, stating, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said I hate gay people or anything like that.” He later sent out another apology via a press release.
Hardaway received quite a bit of backlash for his homophobic thoughts. In September 2007 interview, Hardaway said of the incident, “I had no idea how much I hurt people. A lot of people.” He described the furor surrounding his comments as “the biggest bump [in the road] in my life,” and added, “I’m going to do whatever I can to correct it. That’s all I can do.”
Now 46, the reformed homophobe, who has worked with the Trevor Project, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, in order to help educate himself on gay, lesbian, and transgendered issues, was at the forefront of the historic petition signing this week.
Hardaway placed his signature on the document, which means that he supports a proposed amendment to the Florida State Constitution overturning Florida Amendment 2, which would allow same-sex marriage on the ballot in Florida in 2014.