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Hardaway apologizes again for anti-gay comments

2/19/2007 - NBA

MIAMI -- Former NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway apologized again
Sunday for his anti-gay remarks, telling a Miami television station
that he "didn't mean" to say what he said in a South Florida
radio interview last week.

Hardaway, in an interview at his home with CBS affiliate WFOR,
acknowledged he made a major mistake by saying "I hate gay
people" when asked how he would react to having a gay teammate.

"I don't hate gay people," Hardaway said. "I'm a goodhearted
person. I interact with people all the time. ... I respect people.
For me to say 'hate' was a bad word, and I didn't mean to use it."

Hardaway made the anti-gay comments Wednesday, a week after John
Amaechi became the first former NBA player to reveal his
homosexuality. Hardaway said he didn't believe gay players should
share a locker room with heterosexual players, then added, "I
don't like gay people, and I don't like to be around gay people."

On Sunday, he acknowledged "that was very bad."

His remarks quickly drew criticism from both the NBA and several
gay and lesbian groups, and Hardaway said the firestorm surprised
him.

"It was like, you know, I had killed somebody. ... I never knew
that this was going to escalate that high," Hardaway said.

Hardaway was banished from some NBA-sanctioned appearances he
was scheduled to make in Las Vegas as part of the All-Star weekend.
He also lost at least one of his endorsement deals, and he ordered
his name dropped from advertising at a car wash he owns in Miami,
saying he made that decision to ensure the safety of his employees.

Hardaway played parts of 13 NBA seasons with Golden State,
Miami, Dallas, Denver and Indiana, and played in five All-Star
games.