Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter
ozma914

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Next Week's Column: Coming Out, the Hardaway

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


Tim Hardaway is a prime example of why free speech in this country is so important. Stay with me, I’ll explain.

For those of you who’ve been in a sensory deprivation tank, Hardaway is a former NBA basketball star who was asked during an interview for his opinion about another former player, John Amaechi. Amaechi recently revealed he was gay. And I don’t mean happy.

Amaechi is apparently the first MBA player ever to come out of the closet. He did it the same way I would, in a book, which will allow him to explain his point of view while also making a few bucks. (Not that I’m going to. Come out of the closet, I mean, not write a book.)

Regardless of how you feel about homosexuality, it was a brave thing for a sports star to do. As macho jobs go that’s one of the macho-est; there’s not a lot of gay talk anywhere in sports, with the exception of men’s figure skating, and how much of that is rumor I couldn’t say. Frankly, I prefer women’s figure skating – the outfits are prettier. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I guess Amaechi figured times have changed, and people would be more accepting these days. After all, the guy who played Sulu on Star Trek came out of the closet (do they have closets on starships? On a related note, where are the bathrooms?) If the guy who pilots the Enterprise can be gay, why not a basketball player?

Hardaway didn’t see it that way: “You know, I hate gay people. You know, I let it be known I don’t like gay people, I don’t like to be around gay people.”

You know, I don’t like people who say “you know” all the time.

Hardaway went on to say, “First of all, I wouldn’t want him on my team. I think the majority of the players would ask him to be traded or they would want to get traded.” Apparently he took a poll.

Now, at this point I’m wondering what size shoes Hardaway wears. I say this because he continues to shove his foot even further into his mouth, when told his comments seemed homophobic. (Seemed?) “I am homophobic, so yeah, I don’t like it.” Then he announces there’s no place in the United States or the world for it. Homosexuality, not feet.

Don’t hold back on us, Timmy boy, tell us how you really feel.

Hardaway later apologized, rather in the same manner a serial killer apologizes after they start digging bodies out of his basement. It was a little late by then. What possible excuse could you come up with for saying those things? He didn’t mean it? That won’t fly. Recent head injury? Controlled substances? Come on.

But, as I said earlier, Hardaway is an important example of why free speech is a good thing. Don’t apologize, Tim – say what you think. Wear your bigotry on your sleeve, for all the world to see. (Yes, it is bigotry. He professes to hate an entire group of people without exception because they’re different than him, even though they’ve never done him any harm. That’s the definition.)

Why let him talk? It’s the difference between the way the world should be and the way it is. In the perfect world there would be no prejudice, no intolerance, no hatred, no lawyers, no reality television. But it’s not a perfect world, and lots of people like Hardaway exist. There shouldn’t be people who feel that way, especially people like him, who belong to minorities that have faced slavery and segregation. Talk about hypocrisy.

But they do exist. And if they’re going to think that way anyway, don’t you want to know who they are? Wouldn’t it be better that they be easily identifiable, say with a sign that says “hater” stapled to their backs?

There’d be some irony in that, since they apparently want to slap signs on other people. But at least you’d know not to hit them up for donations for the next gay rights rally. As long as they don’t trip over that fine line into inciting hate crimes, let ‘em mumble around their size twelve’s.

Some say this is not comparable to racism, or sexism. I won’t argue that one way or the other, accept to point out the same arguments were once made against desegregation, women’s suffrage, and even the right on non-property owners to vote. I happen to belong to a religion that many people say condemns homosexuality – I can’t accept that, but whether I’m right or wrong, I figure God still loves me, too. The Bible says to love the sinner – no real Christian hates gay people, despite what some hatemongers would have you believe. What’s Hardaway’s excuse? He has none. He just hates blindly, for the sake of hating.

But the joke’s on him. You see, I have several female friends who are gay (or lesbian, or whatever the currently accepted term is). According to researchers, there are more homosexual males than females, and yet I don’t know a single gay male. That can only mean they haven’t announced themselves. This tells us that many, many gays are still in the closet, and do you realize what that means?

It means Hardaway spent his career surrounded by gays: in the stands, in the players, in the shower....

Once he figures that out, I’ll bet he never gets a good night’s sleep for the rest of his life.
Tags: new era, slightly off the mark, weekly column
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