8.10.2005

Oh yeah, I have a blog

Some sports related articles have caught my eye recently:

KNBR, the flagship radio station for the San Francisco Giants, fired talk show host Larry Krueger. While station management gave other reasons for the firing, Krueger was a center of controversy for stating the Giants had too many "brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly," during his post-game show. Giants’ manager Felipe Alou, among other Latin players in and out of the Giants’ organization, was publicly upset about the remarks.
Fellow KNBR host and San Francisco sportscaster Gary Radnich thought the firing was unwarranted and said the following;

"Felipe Alou got rolling, got a head of steam up, and in this politically
correct world, you don't get a second chance any more,"

Excuse me as I whip out the smallest violin and play a tune.

First of all, if you are a broadcaster and you are stupid enough to insult a whole group of people, you get what you deserve. Why should Latin people in the Bay area listen to KNBR if they are going to get insulted during a post game show?

Second, Alou did nothing wrong. Blaming him, however subtly, for Krueger’s firing is like blaming a mugging victim for reporting the offense to the police. Tiger Woods caught similar flack for not throwing a life preserver to Fuzzy Zoeller after he made the chicken & collard greens crack at the Masters in 1997. It is not the job of the insulted to bail out the insulter. If it is in the heart of the insulted to do so, like Yao Ming did with Shaquille O’Neal’s "Tell Yao Ming, 'ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh." comments in 2003, so be it. If not, tough luck.

Filip Bondy, columnist for the New York Daily News, takes the PGA Tour to task for the lack of diversity of players in the upcoming PGA Championship;

“Don't let the skin color of Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh fool you, over the
next four days of bleached television coverage. The top levels of this sport are
not getting any darker, any more diverse, any more accessible to minorities in
this country. Woods stands alone, in more ways than one.

As of early this week, there were 156 tentative entrants in the PGA
Championship, and 90 of them were from the U.S. Of those 90, there was one
Asian-American, one Hispanic-American and one Asian-African-American, who
happens to be the greatest player in the world. The rest were white guys. The 24
club pros who qualified for this championship were all white again, which tells
you that the mid-level pipeline is not pumping out diversity.

We are still seeing too many pros who had enough money to hire the
right coaches, or to grow up around a golf course when they were young. Woods'
success has not enabled or energized the black population to take up irons in
earnest.”

Okay, now what?

Is the PGA Tour doing anything to keep people of color away from the links? No. I believe PGA Tour officials would jump up and down in glee if they had more golfers of color on their tour. I watch a lot of golf (much to my wife’s chagrin), and I see a number of The First Tee promotional messages, bringing golf to places where it wasn’t played before (read: the ‘hood).
Is golf in general doing anything to keep people of color away from the greens? No. If you think golf coaches wouldn’t like to get their hands on the athletes that are currently playing basketball, football and baseball, regardless of color, you are crazy. If an Al Queda follower could hit a 300 drive straight down the fairway, he would get a college scholarship faster that you could say As sala'amu alaikum.

There are few to no golfers of color at the highest levels of the sport because golf is expensive (as I unfortunately know, it would be cheaper and less addictive if I took crack cocaine up as a hobby) and because golf has only become cool in the last decade, corresponding with Tiger’s accession to the top of the golf world. The kids who Bondy describes growing up with a club in their hands are in their teens now; too young to challenge Fred Funk and Sergio Garcia.

By the way, if you want to see the first waves of Tiger Woods’ effect on high level golf in America, look at the LPGA. The teenagers threatening to take over the women’s tour (Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel) were in grade school when Tiger won the Masters. While 17 year old boys can’t contend on the PGA, 17 year old girls have been able to place well in LPGA tournaments.

I don’t see any solutions from Bondy on how to get more color on the PGA Tour. I’m not one to buy into the ‘patiently wait, your time will come’ idea of getting what you want, but in this case, patience will reap rewards.

1 comment:

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