Boy, is there a lot of discussion surrounding golf analyst Kelly Tilghman's joke about what other golfers should do to Tiger Woods. Naturally, I couldn't resist adding my two cents.
I find something wrong with the actions of absolutely everyone involved, as well as most of the people commenting on sports talk shows the last few days. The analyst herself was wrong for saying something so stupid, but ESPN midday radio hosts Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt were wrong yesterday for saying that they knew Tilghman personally and can vouch that she didn't really mean anything by saying it. What? When did they become her PR reps? Mike Wilbon, a host on ESPN TV show Pardon The Interruption, is wrong for saying virtually the same thing, that he knew her and knew that she didn't mean anything by it. Dan Patrick on his radio show is wrong for adding this whopper--by saying that Tiger should be lynched in a back alley, where most lynchings historically have not taken place, Tilghman showed that she didn't realize the significance of what she was saying and therefore is only guilty of ignorance. Being retarded is not an excuse. Everyone in the KKK is retarded, and no one gives them a pass. However, Al Sharpton is wrong for demanding her job without knowing anything about the context of the comment. He didn't even know that Kelly was a woman. She certainly should have been censured and penalized by her employer, but I don't think she should have been canned. And speaking of her employer, Golf Channel, they're wrong for suspending her two weeks only after Sharpton got on CNN and started bitching and moaning. They were standing behind her, acknowledging her horrible judgment yet supporting her, before Rev. Al threatened boycotts of sponsors and the like.
But I reserve my harshest judgment for Tiger himself and everyone who took the angle that everything should be okay because Tiger said he didn't have a problem, and if the target said "no harm no foul," then it's all good, right? Hell no! See, this is why people like Sharpton and Jesse Jackson exist, because if left up to the individuals slapped by racism, so many of them would rather avoid conflict and back off than challenge the oppressor. Put it another way: How many Uncle Toms have said in the past, "Oh no, massa ain't mean no harm! He's a jus' whoopin' me and my old lady 'cause we deserve it! I ain't got no beef with massa! He treat me good most of the time! Even let me eat my suppa in the kitchen sometime instead a in the back yard!" Of course Tiger is going to say he has no problem with the comment, because he wants to be the mainstream superstar loved by white folks as much (or more) than blacks, and he can't be that if he starts having problems with innocent little "jokes." Hell, he says he's not black anyway, so maybe he thinks the joke isn't racial at all. I heard the point brought up that Tiger can show his disapproval when he is really upset with someone's words, like when he didn't comment immediately after Fuzzy Zoeller's moronic jokes years ago. To me, that proves that he doesn't have a problem with black jokes against him. Where I grew up, the words Fuzzy said would have been followed by an assault and battery, not by silence. Or at least a confrontation along the lines of, "Are you crazy?!?" But that's not Tiger's style. Might lose a few sales of some golf shirts or caps if he shows displeasure with the massa's harmless jokes. But imagine our world if King, Abernathy, et al., would have accepted put-downs and insults as just "misspeaks" in the 1960s and decided to let it go, like Gandhi Tiger. We'd still be drinking from dirty water fountains and pissing in filthy bathrooms.
Finally, with all these people making wrong assumptions and statements, I'd like to get off my soapbox and be wrong for a second as well. I heard three different black men yesterday alone defend Tilghman as a friend who didn't mean any harm--Tirico, Wilbon, and Charles Barkley, as a guest on Dan Patrick's show. That's not counting Tiger's defense of her as a friend when this first happened. When I saw pictures of her just now while I was searching for information, I assumed that her being thin, blonde, and white and having all these black guys being her "friends" meant that she was one of those chicks that couldn't get enough of the dark meat. It's Kim Kardashian without the ass! But actually, something else interesting kept coming up in my search engine--"lesbian." Apparently, she's been long rumored to be either bisexual or all-the-way gay. And that makes just as much sense, when you think about it. What would black men love and defend as much or more than a blonde white chick who plays golf? Why, a blonde white chick who plays golf and brings her girlfriends into bed with them, of course!
Wrong of me? Yep, very wrong. True? Absolutely.