In case anyone was wondering how far America had come in regards to accepting people's sexual orientation, we all got quite a loud reminder last week.
Former Cleveland Cavalier John Amaechi became the first NBA player to come out of the closet. Former Miami and Golden State star Tim Hardaway showed why Amaechi might have thought it wise to wait until his career was finished before revealing he is gay.
"I hate gay people. I let it be known," Hardaway told a Miami radio station. " I don't like gay people. I don't like to be around gay people. I'm homophobic. I don't like it. There shouldn't be a world for that or (a place) in the United States for it. I don't like it.''
Even current Cavs star and known nice guy LeBron James was borderline hostile with his comments.
"With teammates you have to be trustworthy, and if you're gay and you're not admitting that you are, then you are not trustworthy," James told Cleveland media.
It’s easy to see why Amaechi, who played high school ball in Toledo, might have thought it wise to stay closeted when he played in the NBA.
Amaechi waited until long after it mattered to his income and until he had a book deal to announce his sexuality. A braver man would have come out while still playing and really opened some doors. But again, from the comments of his peers, we do see how hard that would have been.
Amaechi looks like the role model many kids seek from star athletes. He could have been a great role model to gay youth had he been a more courageous.
The Amaechi situation offers a another chance for us to reflect on our tolerance as a nation. It reminds us we still have a long way to go.