Diversity in golf is a challenge already, so to have those in the media open their mouths to spew ignorance, it becomes even harder to achieve. That’s exactly what happened on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel earlier this week.
Co-hosts Steve Johnson and Hank Haney were discussing the Women’s U.S. Open, which began on Thursday, and it went all wrong from there. Here’s the exchange, per USA Today, that got Haney in big trouble.
Johnson: “This week is the 74th U.S. Women’s Open, Hank.”
Haney: “Oh it is? I’m gonna predict a Korean.”
Johnson, laughing: “OK, that’s a pretty safe bet.”
Haney: “I couldn’t name you six players on the LPGA Tour. Maybe I could. Well … I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right.”
Johnson: “We’ve got six Lees.”
Haney: “Honestly, Michelle Wie is hurt. I don’t know that many. Where are they playing, by the way?”
Well the PGA Tour wasn’t happy and called for his suspension, which was granted today.
Joint @PGATOUR/@SIRIUSXM statement on @HankHaney.
“Mr. Haney’s comments on women’s professional golf were insensitive and do not represent the views of the PGA TOUR or SiriusXM,” read the statement. “The PGA TOUR is committed to and proud of the increasingly diverse makeup of our fan base, not to mention the power and accomplishments of the game’s world-class, global players – both on the PGA TOUR and LPGA, whom we are working with more closely than ever before.
“SiriusXM proudly covers and supports both women’s and men’s golf and the athletes that make them great. At the PGA TOUR’s instruction Mr. Haney has been suspended from the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel. SiriusXM is reviewing his status on SiriusXM going forward.”
Haney, upon being notified that he was being suspended, didn’t fight the punishment and issued his own statement of acceptance (he’s accepted the suspension per the PGA Tour’s statement above) and apology.
“This morning I made some comments about women’s golf and its players that were insensitive, and that I regret,” wrote Haney in a tweet. “In an effort to make a point about the overwhelming success of Korean players on the tour, I offended people and I am sorry. I have the highest respect for the women who have worked so hard to reach the pinnacle of their sport, and I never meant to take away from their abilities and accomplishments.
“I’ve worked in this game with men and women players from many different cultures, and I look forward to continuing to do so.”
His first apology needs to be directed towards golfer Michelle Wie, who wasn’t laughing at the ignorant attempt at a joke.
As a Korean American female golfer, these comments that @HankHaney made disappoint and anger me on so many different levels. Racism and sexism are no laughing matter Hank….shame on you. I don’t ever do this, but this must be called out. https://t.co/P18JByTosN
“As a Korean American female golfer, these comments that Hank Haney made disappoint and anger me on so many different levels.” tweeted the LPGA veteran. “Racism and sexism are no laughing matter Hank….shame on you. I don’t ever do this, but this must be called out.”
She continued in her second tweet: “Too many of these girls, Korean or not, have worked countless hours and sacrificed so much to play in the US Open this week. There are so many amazing players in the field. Let’s celebrate them … Not mock them.”
Now Haney will have the time he needs to learn about the players on the LPGA Tour and develop some respect.