Former NBA center John Amaechi, who is the first basketball player to come out of the closet showed class and focus when asked to respond to the mind-blowing comments of fellow former player Tim "I hate gay people" Hardaway."His words pollute the atmosphere. 'It creates an atmosphere that allows young gays and lesbians to be harassed in school, creates an atmosphere where in 33 states you can lose your job, and where anti-gay and lesbian issues are used for political gain. It's an atmosphere that hurts all of us, not just gay people."Amaechi's response on Sporting Life:"Finally, someone who is honest. It is ridiculous, absurd, petty, bigoted and shows a lack of empathy that is gargantuan and unfathomable. "But it is honest. And it illustrates the problem better than any of the fuzzy language other people have used so far."A great report with Hardaway's outrageous, ignorant original statement, was covered on ESPN's Outside the Lines yesterday (see below), including coverage of the NBA's decision to drop him from public appearances. It also features an interview with Dan Le Batard, the radio host who sat in disbelief as Hardaway spewed the bile in the interview, and reactions and comments from Amaechi about Hardaway's remarks.
No doubt this debate is just heating up. So stay tuned.