The NBA banished Tim Hardaway from the All-Star events this weekend for making anti-gay remarks at the revelation of former NBA star John Amaechi’s homosexuality.

Tim Hardaway said he hates gay people. He would distance himself from them. And he said that homosexuality wasn’t right.

John Amaechi played for Cleveland, Orlando and Utah in his short 5 year NBA career. The fact that he is gay shouldn’t matter to anyone. But, it does to John. He wanted to come out and tell the world. He wanted to finally acknowledge who he was and let the world know about it.

So many homosexuals go through that battle for years. They battle with their own confusions first of all. Then when they finally figure out what it is that they’ve been confused about for all those years, they battle with gaining the courage to let others know. Or they battle with the right timing to tell their parents, tell their friends…etc.

Ellen is infamous for being a comedian. There is no getting around that. But, she can also contribute some of that celebrity status to the battle she made public back in 1997. Since the not-all-that-shocking episode on her show “Ellen,” she has helped others come to grips with their own homosexuality. In her recent HBO stand up comedy hour, Here And Now, several of her audience members stood up to let her know how much of a heroine she has been to them. Remember that show? It was the one when Ellen said to the female audience member, “Yes sir, you over there!”

Anyway, my point is that homosexuals battle for years to come to grips with these terms about themselves. They go through a great deal of self-reflection and denial. Then, they feel forced to years of silence and even more denial. Denial of a different kind. The kind of denial when you finally acknowledge the truth about yourself, but you just aren’t ready to let anyone know.

Homosexuals fight through all these emotions for years until they finally decide to unload it onto their parents, who have no idea. They finally decide to unload it onto their friends, who have no idea. And when they decide to drop this bomb, they forget one simple fact.

~ They expect to be accepted by their family and their friends in that exact moment when it took them years to accept themselves. They took years to come to terms with something they expect others to accept instantly. ~

While the media is eating it up and America learns to grow yet again, Tim Hardaway is really taking the beating. He is the scapegoat to all this emotion the entire nation feels just like Michael Richards was when he blurted out racial slurs, just like the Dixie Chicks years ago when they openly opposed the war.

And it’s just like the news reporter on Tucker Carlson’s show who said about Tim Hardaway, “To say things like that over the radio…openly…where does he think he is?”

Uh, America?

I know Dan Le Batard tried to inform Tim Hardaway that he was being “flatly homophobic” and basically a bigot. And Tim Hardaway probably should have monitored more closely what he was saying. But, the fact that John Amaechi was an NBA player may have hit close to home for Tim Hardaway. He knew homosexuals existed. He has probably met a few and treated them with respect until he was able to distance himself. But, the NBA is his home. And John Amaechi lived in that same home.

Now, the scapegoat syndrome is going to kick in and Tim Hardaway is going to take the beating for everyone who feels the same way. The entire nation is wrestling with these issues. Not everyone is homophobic, but we are all in the battle together. We are all trying to sort out our emotions and battle through our own confusions. Do we accept homosexuals? Do we accept them openly? Do we go as far as to march with them or just take a small part and invite them over for coffee and donuts? No. Make that tea and Baked Alaska.

Just like Michael Richards bringing to the surface the emotions of racism and causing an outbreak of open dialog, just like the Dixie Chicks bringing to the surface these emotions of this war, all of the angles that can possibly be explored, using Tim Hardaway as an escape goat helps so many people feel better about themselves, work through their own confusions and bash Tim Hardaway for being such an insensitive jerk.

Too many people are being told what to think. Not enough people truly understand all the issues involved.

Sit in the corner Tim until you learn what we want you to think and don’t come out of the corner until you learn not to say whatever you want to say!There’s kind of a reverse thing going on there, isn’t there?