Gay Mayor Reaches Out To Hardaway

Kevin Burns
As the firestorm continued over Tim Hardaway’s anti-gay remarks on radio, the mayor of North Miami, who is gay, invited the ex-Heat star to spend a day with him.
On Friday, Hardaway accepted, the mayor said.
”We’re just trying to show him that there are living, breathing people that just happen to be gay,” said North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns, who lives with his partner of 23 years and an adopted daughter.
He’s still working out details of the visit with Hardaway’s representatives and expects they will make a joint announcement on Monday, Burns said.
The plan is for Hardaway to join Burns and his family for a routine weekday at the mayor’s office and home — doing things like dropping off Burns’ child at school, meeting with constituents and dinner with the family.
Hardaway has been hit hard since the broadcast on the local AM radio station 790 The Ticket, in which he said, ”I don’t like to be around gay people” and “it shouldn’t be in the U.S. or the world.”
Although he apologized within hours, the NBA canceled his remaining appearances at this weekend’s All-Star festivities in Las Vegas, and he lost at least two major endorsement deals.
On Friday, Hardaway spent the day with his family, pleading for privacy as television cameras continued a vigil outside the gates of his Pinecrest home.
Terry Washington, a spokeswoman for Hardaway, said the former five-time All-Star had not yet spoken to Mayor Burns and that an announcement would be “premature.”
Hardaway played for the Heat from 1995 through 2001. On several occasions, he expressed interest in returning to the Heat’s roster but was turned down.
He now has ownership in several South Florida businesses, including Tim Hardaway’s U.S. 1 Car Wash in Miami and Tim Hardaway’s House of Wings in Coconut Grove.
Burns has some experience building bridges outside the gay community, since he won the mayor’s seat decisively in 2005 despite some hostility in a city without much of a gay constituency.
He has been open but low-key in public about his relationship with Rob Flint, his partner of 23 years, and their adopted daughter, Autumn. During the mayoral campaign, Burns said he understood the discrimination faced by the Haitian Americans and African Americans who predominate in the city.
”I don’t expect [Hardaway] to be waving a peace flag anytime soon, even after this,” Burns said Friday.
“But maybe he’ll be less likely to say something bad about people if he knows them and understands a little more.
from The Miami Herald

Randy Blue

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