Tiger isn’t the one for protests, so just appreciate him for the iconic golfer he is.
Everyone knows the old saying about trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. This saying exemplifies the efforts by the media to try and engage Tiger Woods in discussions of sports, race and politics.
The two just don’t fit.
This is not an attack on Woods or calling his racial identity into question. It’s just a statement of fact; Woods isn’t comfortable, or maybe even capable of, debating the subject, so please just stop asking him about it.
It’s become an exhausting experience to hear reporters try and goad him into discussions regarding race as it simply leads to head shaking and frustration. At the end of the Northern Trust on Sunday, a reporter tried to drag him into the discussion again.
At times, especially 2018, I think a lot of people, especially immigrants are threatened by him and his policy.” asked the reporter, referencing Donald Trump. “What do you say to people who might find it interesting that you have a friendly relationship with him?
I’m sure everyone was thirsting for a passionate response ripping Trump, hoping the GOAT would finally take a stand. But as is the norm for Woods, he left them shaking their heads because they received what they already knew was coming.
As seen on “Fox & Friends” Tiger Woods shot down questions on Sunday about his relationship with President Donald Trump, urging people to respect the office of the president. MORE: https://bit.ly/2wpPWaP
Well, hes the President of the United States, replied Woods. You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike, personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.
No one, I repeat, NO ONE, should be surprised at this answer. It’s consistent, par for the course (pun intended) and just another reason why the media shouldn’t even bother to waste their time on directing these questions at Woods, especially considering his history with race and politics.
Woods has famously stated that he wasn’t Black but “Cablinasian”, which set people off immediately. He was a star in golf of a darker skin tone, representing not only Black America but also the fight for inclusion for people of color in the historically racist and elitist sport. So by identifying himself that way, he incited an eruption of racial venom spewed directly at him.
It also sparked a bigger debate on race and sports that targeted Woods and other elite athletes like Michael Jordan, with his Airness also angering Black America with his alleged statement of “Republicans buy sneakers too”, who refuse to take an open position when it comes to discussions of race.
Woods has never been open to discussing social or political issues, and after incidents including his wife smashing his car window after discovering he was cheating, their divorce, losing sponsors, being arrested on suspicion of DUI, injuries, setbacks and poor performances, Woods definitely isn’t going to do anything that will further shine the spotlight on him for anything other than what he’s doing on the links.
So when asked that question, and understanding the fact that he has history with Trump, the expected occurred.
Well, Ive known Donald for a number of years, said Woods. Weve played golf together. Weve had dinner together. Ive known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.
While most of Black America might want Woods to finally take a stand on these issues, it’s something that we shouldn’t expect, and, more importantly, it’s something we should accept. He’s not built for it and he just doesn’t want to be the focal point in these discussions, and that’s OK.
People like Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Steph Curry, Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Michael Bennett, Eric Reed and Malcolm Jenkins are leading the charge for change and justice. If Tiger wants to eventually join the new wave of the athletic civil rights movement, they’ll welcome him into the circle.
Two years ago, Jordan finally joined in and took a stand in the fight against social injustice, donating $2 million to organizations that address police brutality and racial injustice. It’s something that fans, especially Black fans, had been waiting for him to do since he was in a Bulls jersey, but that they readily accepted now that he’s the owner of the Hornets. It took over three decades, but when it finally happened, it was major.
Every person of color has a moment when their skin tone and/or ethnicity is held against them, and at that moment one must decide how to address it. Ironically, Tiger did address it at the early age of 14, speaking about the fact that he is Black.
Unedited footage of an interview that Trans World Sport did with Tiger Woods in November 1990 when Tiger was 14. Filmed at the Navy Golf Club, Cypress, California. Subscribe to Trans World Sport: http://goo.gl/5kBsQ TWS features sports action from around the globe, including reports from the biggest international competitions, in-depth features on lesser-known sports and profiles of rising stars of the future.
As a teenager, the future golfing icon recognized his importance and position as a Black golfer in a predominantly white sport.
Since Im black, I might even be bigger than Jack Nicklaus, said Woods. I might be even bigger than him, to the blacks. I might be sort of like a Michael Jordan in basketball.
He didn’t stop there, quickly addressing the importance of winning the Masters without hesitation.
The way blacks have been treated there. [Like] they shouldnt be there, he said. If I win that tournament, it will be really big for us.
Things obviously changed quickly for Woods, heavier burdens and expectations being placed upon him as the wins kept coming. One of those was racial identity, something that he has now chosen not to address. He’s had to face the racially tinged jokes about fried chicken from fellow golfers like Fuzzy Zoeller and Sergio Garica, addressing the latter immediately, and sometimes it’s hard to go all in in response when you’re the only one of a darker shade in the room and the spotlight is on you. If you’ve never been in that situation, you shouldn’t judge.
Yet on the other hand, Tiger has supported charitable causes through his TGR Foundation, where he’s spent tens of millions of dollars on scholarships, STEM programs and after-school centers over the two decades since its inception. In addition, he has consistently acknowledged the Black golfers who fought for the right to play, men like Lee Elder, Bill Spiller, Calvin Peete and the late Charlie Sifford who was not only the first African American to play on the PGA Tour, but also the namesake of Tiger’s son, Chalie Axel. So although he refrains from getting involved with discussions of race, he’s actually letting his pockets, efforts and decisions do the talking for him.
Real G’s do move in silence, and Tiger is definitely in that category.
But reality oversteps us all, and for people of color there comes a time when we all must face the moments when the color of our skin and our ethnic defining features will be used against us. When that moment occurs, how we choose to react can speak volumes. Some, like Tiger, refuse to address it. He has that right to react that way, even when pressed about it.
No, responded Woods when pressed on Sunday about sharing his thoughts on race and social issues in America. I just finished 72 holes and really hungry.
Yet this also means that we need to stop searching for answers from those, like Tiger, who aren’t ready, willing or able to give us one.
Maybe one day soon he’ll be ready; but until that time, stop thirsting for it.