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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Anti-gay Remarks from Former NBA Player

AP story in Strib:

The NBA banished Tim Hardaway from All-Star weekend in Las Vegas because of his anti-gay remarks.

Hardaway, who played in five All-Star games during the 1990s, was already in Las Vegas and scheduled to make a series of public appearances this week on behalf of the league. But after he said, "I hate gay people" during a radio interview, Commissioner David Stern stepped in.

"We removed him from representing us because we didn't think his comments were consistent with having anything to do with us," Stern told reporters Thursday.


On a Miami radio show Wednesday, Hardaway was asked how he would interact with a gay teammate.

"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team," the former Miami Heat star said. "And second of all, if he was on my team, I would, you know, really distance myself from him because, uh, I don't think that is right. I don't think he should be in the locker room while we are in the locker room."

When show host Dan Le Batard told Hardaway those comments were "flatly homophobic" and "bigotry," the player continued.

"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," he said. "I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world or in the United States."

Hardaway also said if he did find out that a teammate was gay, he would ask for the player to be removed from the team.

Alan Hooker, who serves on the Minneapolis Library board sent me a copy of an email he sent to the Today Show about the unprofessional behavior of their hosts.

Dear Friends,

Please forgive this intrusion and my soapbox moment.

I am forwarding a copy of an email I have sent to the producers of The Today Show. For those who may have seen the program this morning (Feb. 15), you may have witnessed the report on a former NBA basketball star's remarks about gays. I found the remarks to be horrific, but the Today Show's casts reaction to the story was equally so.

For those who may have seen it (or review it online) and feel as I do, I encourage you to contact NBC and let your views be known.

Best wishes,

Alan Hooker

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Alan Hooker
Date: Feb 15, 2007 11:01 AM
Subject: inappropriate laughter

As a long time daily viewer of the Today Show (20+ years), I must express my dismay and disappointment at the reaction of Ann Curry and Al Roker, and to a lesser extent Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira, to a story reported by Ms. Curry during the 7:00 a.m. hour. The story regarding the anti-gay remarks by former Miami Heat player Tim Hardaway. Upon completion of reading the story, Ms. Curry broken into uncontrollable laughter on-air, blaming it on not just the story's content but the fact that Mr. Roker had initiated the laughter on the set. At this point, the show's other principals joined in with Mr. Roker mugging and joking.

As an openly gay man, I was horrified at this unprofessional display. Although Ms. Curry tried to excuse her reaction as one of such shock to the story that laughter was a normal reaction, I can tell you I found nothing funny in the least. The statements of Mr. Hardway that had been displayed on screen and read by Ms. Curry were shockingly offensive. Whether intentional or not, Ms. Curry's behavior and those of her colleagues made light of the repugnant remarks of an acknowledged homophobe. I dare hope that had such outrageously bigoted comments been reported in a story involving race, gender, ethnicity or religion, laughter would not ensue.

Homophobia and hatred are not laughing matters.

Alan Hooker
Minneapolis, MN