As Carl Olsen noted in our comments section, writer and radio host Michael Medved has weighed in on the Tim Hardaway controversy, agreeing with the points I’ve made here.
Independently arriving at most of the same conclusions I have outlined in my analyses on the subject on this site, Medved agrees with my point that Hardaway was correct to apologize for using the word "hate" in describing his feelings about homosexuals, and with my observation that most people feel fundamentally uncomfortable with the presence of homosexuality:
Hardaway appropriately apologized for his harsh remarks, but many (if not most) Americans no doubt share his instinctive reluctance to share showers and locker rooms with open homosexuals. That reluctance also explains the controversial Defense Department policy that prevents out-of-the-closet gays from serving in the United States military.
Medved also points out that Hardaway’s discomfort at the idea of being undressed around homosexuals is a perfectly sensible attitude:
In the wake of the nearly-universal condemnation of Tim Hardaway’s statements to a radio interviewer, the substantive issue remains. Is it a reasonable for an NBA basketball player (or a soldier in basic training, for that matter) to feel uncomfortable sharing intimate quarters with a homosexual, or does this represent an outrageous, irrational fear? In response to the Hardaway controversy, several sports columnists compared his resistance to the idea of playing alongside gay teammates to the racism of previous years when white players tried to avoid competing with (or against) blacks.
The analogy is ridiculous, of course. There is no rational basis for discomfort at playing with athletes of another race since science and experience show that human racial differences remain insignificant. The much better analogy for discomfort at gay teammates involves the widespread (and generally accepted) idea that women and men shouldn’t share locker rooms. Making gay males unwelcome in the intimate circumstances of an NBA team makes just as much sense as making straight males unwelcome in the showers for a women’s team at the WNBA. Most female athletes would prefer not to shower together with men not because they hate males (though some of them no doubt do), but because they hope to avoid the tension, distraction and complication that prove inevitable when issues of sexual attraction (and even arousal) intrude into the arena of competitive sports.
The parenthetical expression "though some of them no doubt do" is pricelessly funny.
Medved also alludes to the argument that revulsion toward homosexuality is a common human trait that may well have a genetic component, though he only glancingly treats the issue:
Many gay activists suggest that this near-universal straight male repulsion at the idea of sex with another man is merely the product of cultural conditioning: a learned prejudice that ought to be unlearned. This represents the core message of gay pride parades and even the drive for same-sex marriage: an effort to persuade all of society that gay sex is as beautiful as straight sex, and to “cure” men of their visceral disgust at the very thought of what two (or more) male homosexuals do with one another.
According to the “enlightened” advocates of gay liberation, this disgust gets to the very essence of “homophobia” – an altogether unjustified fear and distaste for male-on-male physical intimacy. When Hardaway says “I hate gay people” what he suggests at the deepest level is that he feels revolted by the very notion of same-sex eroticism and that he’d prefer not to face the distraction of such thoughts in the locker room or on the court.
Unfortunately, Medved never suggests any natural, noncultural reason why people have this revulsion. Hence he doesn’t offer any real refutation to the notion that a discomfort with homosexual behavior is a mutable characteristic, a "product of cultural conditioning, . . a learned prejudice that ought to be unlearned," as he aptly summarizes the argument.
My suggestion, that this atitude is genetically coded into human beings, adds the necessary element to the mix: a theory of human nature, a hypothesis about natural laws, that makes it possible to argue against the "homophobia as purely cultural artifact" thesis behind modern elite attitudes toward homosexual behavior and reactions of heterosexuals toward it.
Medved usefully argues about the power of the sexual urge in adult human beings, and observes that denying the impact of this reality creates foolish and insane ideas:
Those who insist that basketball teams or submarine crews must welcome gay recruits must, for the sake of consistency, argue for the same welcome to teammates of the opposite gender. That notion – that a male player could, for instance, join a WNBA team without serious problems – shows the way that political correctness now seems to deny the obvious, often overwhelming potency of human sexuality.
Those who suggest that a guy could shower with young female athletes without risk of arousal, or that a gay guy could shower with young male athletes with[out] problems or discomfort, don’t merely defy common sense. They ignore human nature.
It’s great to see Mike Medved join the fray, and it will be interesting to know whether this will broaden the discussion further, at least on the right, to consider more of the important implications of this serious news event.