The Golden State Warriors honored their Run TMC era on Monday night during their 132-95 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. Unfortunately, the special broadcast featuring franchise legends Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond did not go as well as the game.
Early in the third quarter, the Warriors were playing physical defense and Draymond Green eventually forced a steal. After Steph Curry was fouled on the other end, Hardaway went back to the turnover. “So y’all thought that was great D?” Hardaway said. “I thought that was just raping him. I think they should call the police on that.”
Neither Mullin nor Richmond addressed the comment at the time. Later in the fourth quarter, however, Hardaway made an apology: “I used a poor choice of words earlier in the broadcast. I want to apologize for that. Let’s get back to the game and let’s finish the game off with a 30-point win and go home happy.”
While Mullin has broadcast experience with the Warriors’ pre-game and post-game shows, neither Richmond nor Hardaway had been in the booth before. In light of his comments, it’s worth noting that Hardaway admitted to ESPN prior to the event that he did not pay attention to their production meeting:
Last week, the Run TMC broadcast team had a 45-minute production meeting over Zoom. The producer laid out how calling a game works, and the ins and outs of what they needed to do to prepare.
Hardaway admits he barely paid attention. But, one thing the producer made very clear: what you cannot say on air.
They didn’t do much research on the team heading into the game and planned on relying on their pre-existing knowledge of the team and the organization’s history to carry them through.
Of course, you should not need a producer or executive to explain that you cannot use any form of the word “rape” to describe a player’s defense.
Hardaway is no stranger to inappropriate comments. In 2007, during an appearance on Dan LeBatard’s radio show, he said he would not want a gay player on his team. “You know, I hate gay people, so I let it be known,” Hardaway said. “I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.”
To his credit, Hardaway has changed his views and has since worked hard to make amends. He helped raise money for The Trevor Project, a national suicide hotline for gay youth, endorsed politicians who supported same-sex marriage and was the first person to sign a petition for a ballot initiative to legalize gay marriage in Florida in 2013. (It was later legalized in 2015.)
“I’m trying to do what’s right, supporting gay people and transgender people,” Hardaway said in 2019. “I want people to understand [what they go through] and understand them as people. They shouldn’t be seen as ‘other’ people. You shouldn’t call them [derogatory names] or look at them all ugly. Those are people too. They should get to live their lives just like we live our lives and that means having freedom and having fun. They should get to enjoy their life the way they’re supposed to enjoy life. … I’ve talked to people from the LGBTQ community [and I tell them], ‘You’re supposed to have the same rights that we have and supposed to be able to do everything that we do. You shouldn’t be outcast.'”
Hardaway’s anti-gay comments were part of the reason he did not make the Hall of Fame until this year. He was inducted in September, with Mullin and Richmond by his side as his presenters.