Lynching Comments By Golf Channel Commentator
More and more African-Americans tune in to golf tournaments each weekend to watch the No. 1 player in the world, Tiger Woods. Unfortunately, the media is slow to respond by providing more diversity and cultural sensitivity in golf broadcasters. Recently, the Golf Channel made an effort to break that trend when it made Kelly Tilghman golf’s first female anchor last year when it garnered a lucrative 15 year deal with the PGA.
Last Friday during a broadcast, Tilghman, while co-hosting the Mercedes- Benz Championship with golf great Nick Faldo made the comment that for young golfers to compete with Tiger they would have to, “…lynch him in a back alley.”
The Golf Channel did not immediately take action against Tilghman. She had apologized to Woods personally and his agent, Mark Steinberg, responded that Tiger and Kelly are friends. He has known her for about 12 years and did not believe that her comments were made with any ill intent. But after Tilghman’s comments continued to be discussed on black talk radio and other media outlets such as CNN and Fox Sports, the Golf Channel took action on Wednesday with the following statement. “The GOLF CHANNEL regrets the poorly chosen remarks made by Kelly Tilghman on a recent broadcast and, again, extends our apologies to anyone who was offended. There is simply no place on our network for offensive language like this. While we believe that Kelly's choice of words were inadvertent and that she did not intend them in an offensive manner, the words were hurtful and grossly inappropriate.
Consequently, we have decided to suspend Kelly for two weeks, effective immediately.”
Tilghman’s suspension will end in time for the Buick Invitational on January 24, when Woods will make his 2008 debut.
The real problem here is that although Tilghman was suspended by the Golf Channel after a bit of pressure, the statement released by that network clearly indicates it doesn’t agree with the offensive nature of the language despite it claims to the contrary. In addition, www.msn.foxsports.com ran a poll today asking if Tilghman’s suspension was too little, just right, or too harsh. At the time of the writing of this article, the poll was that 68% of responders thought the 2 week suspension was too harsh. Finally, this claim that people do not realize that lynching is a racially charged term is simply not credible. It harkens back to the underlying Jena 6 offense where prosecutors would have Americans believe that the white youth who hung the nooses in the “white tree” did not know the connotation of hanging a noose in a tree.
We all get the message. Why don’t we just stop playing around and admit that we speak the same language and have some open and honest dialogue about race relations in this country?