2001-04-14 / Columnists

From the G-man:

From the G-man:

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Racists

Hey people! Let’s hear it for Tiger Woods! This latest darling of the media has made all the right moves to become one of the most beloved superstars in the world of sports. I guess you could call him the Michael Jordan of golf. He has changed the game as we know it, and many say that he is just starting to reach his golfing potential. That is a scary thought, but there is something much more frightening within the world of golf, and I don’t think Tiger can be considered a true hero until he is willing to speak out against this ugly reality.

Many of the major tournaments, like The Masters or The Bob Hope Classic, are often played on some of the most beautiful and breathtaking courses in the country. The lakes are crystal clear. The grass is emerald green. The sand is a sparkling yellow, and the people who are exclusive members are as white as the driven snow. The sponsors and beneficiaries to these courses, and clubs, also tilt in favor of the Caucasian persuasion, and they have made it abundantly clear that no other groups are welcomed. This is the dirty little secret of the golfing world, and no one has every really addressed it in the media. So, The G-man is going to tee-off on the subject.

There are a number of complaints on record, as well lawsuits, that clearly illustrate how racism is alive and well throughout the golfing circuit. While most involve the smaller courses around the country, charges have been brought against clubs that have hosted major competitions at one time or another. The lawsuits, filed by the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, charged that certain clubs and organizations excluded Jews, Asians and African-Americans from becoming members. The suits also revealed the staggering percentage of white memberships versus those of persons of color, which was somewhere in the area of 95 percent to a paltry 5 percent.

The most astonishing aspect about all this is the fact that many of the members staunchly defended their position to keep the clubs exclusively white. Although they will never admit to it, there are reports that some of golf’s most recognized players have made racist comments and supported the exclusive membership rule. In one report a pro golfer was alleged to have said, "Golf is a white man’s game. Blacks don’t belong on a golf course. That’s what basketball courts are for." There are those who claim the comment was taken out of context or that it was just a joke. Well, I wasn’t laughing when I first heard it, and I suspect many others, from different backgrounds, weren’t laughing either.

Sadly, this is probably the sentiment of a good number of people who enjoy these so-called exclusive memberships.

I am amazed at the level of hypocrisy with regard to the "acceptance" of Tiger Woods by the golfing world. I watch the spectators cheer wildly, most of them white, as he sinks a putt to go 12 under par, and I cannot help asking myself, "Why do they embrace him so easily and deny others of color an opportunity to play on their course?" Is it the fact that he is successful? Is it the fact that he has made millions and threatens to become the first billionaire in the world of sports? Is it because he is the product of an interracial union, which gives them this notion that he really isn’t Black? Is it because he exclusively dates white women or dyes his hair blond on occasion? If it is the money and status, then that’s a bunch of "BS" because there are plenty of Jews, Asians and African-Americans who have both and they still won’t allow them access.

I am not "player hating" on Tiger Woods. I’m proud of his accomplishments, and he is an outstanding role model for young people all over the world. However, I take issue with the fact that he has chosen to ignore an aspect of golf that is so painfully obvious for many. He has all the praise and accolades that he could ever obtain in life, but he would be unmatched, and emerge as a true hero and leader, if he simply came out and said, "While I have managed to break new ground and records in the world of golf, there are those who have been excluded from the game, and they have not had an opportunity to develop their full potential as golfers in the pro and amateur circuits. This cannot continue, and I ask that people in all facets of the golfing circuit work to insure that this practice is halted." His words may be ignored and he may lose endorsement deals, but at least a light would be shed on a very serious problem within the sport.

Finally, I would like to offer an additional piece of advice to Tiger Woods. Yeah, like this guy reads "The Wave", right? As quickly as you have been embraced by the white masses, more specifically the white media, they will turn on you just as quickly if you allow yourself to become "Simpsonized". There are some striking similarities between you and O.J. at this point. People started out worshipping O.J. too, but the minute he (expletive) up, it was all over! Don’t let success, fame, fortune and hype destroy you like it did O.J. You are much higher on the fame and status meter than "The Juice", but that only means that you will fall faster and harder than he ever did the minute something negative or extremely controversial impacts your life; such as allegations that you beat your girlfriend or being accused of rape by a beauty pageant contestant. The media is your best friend now, but they will turn on you like a Doberman if they get a hold of anything that can tarnish your image. Also, if you want to act like a "club kid" and dye your hair blond, I don’t give a rat’s ass. Do your thing! Just don’t forget why you got into the game or where you came from. No matter what, keep it real.

Happy Easter and Passover folks!

See you next week.


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