The world has many problems. So many, in fact, that any attempt to list them would be futile, and the idea of putting them in some kind of order is ludicrous. I believe, though, that racism is certainly somewhere near the top of the list. In my own sheltered little world, it is easy to pretend that it doesn’t exist, but that bubble bursts on a regular basis whenever I let the real world intrude on my idyllic existence. Racism is not as pervasive as it was 50 years ago, of course, but it is still a very real force in our society, and sports are in no way immune to its effects. Two weeks ago, golfers Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods battled for the Players Championship title and, at the same time, bickered back and forth about a breach of course etiquette that Garcia believed Woods had committed while they played together during the 3rd round. This week, Garcia, who was being asked yet again about the incident, stepped far over the line and made a clearly racially-tinged remark about Woods.
The media likes nothing more than stirring up trouble. The Garcia-Woods spat during the Players made that tournament like Christmas morning to the writers covering the event, and two weeks later, it was still a source of amusement for some of these guys. On Wednesday at an event for the European Tour, a writer asked Garcia if he would be inviting Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open, which will happen next month. Garcia initially replied with the expected response, “We’ll have him ’round every night.” OK, ha ha, we all could have predicted that one. He followed with, “We’ll serve fried chicken.” That’s right, he went for the fried chicken joke. I am shocked there was no mention of watermelon. Come on Sergio, if you are going to go Fuzzy, you might as well go full-Fuzzy. For those who don’t follow, Fuzzy Zoeller was a professional golfer who infamously said this as Tiger was winning the 1997 Masters, talking about the champions dinner that would happen before the event the following year:
“He’s doing quite well, pretty impressive. That little boy is driving well and he’s putting well. He’s doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year. Got it. Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.”
Zoeller lost several sponsors after that mess, as you might expect. I am not sure if Garcia has any sponsorships, but I imagine those folks won’t be really excited about his supposed joke. There is just no excuse for that sort of thing. He doesn’t have to like Woods, of course. Controversies aside, Tiger would not appear to be the nicest, most congenial guy on the tour. I am sure there are guys that don’t like him. There is no denying his ability or his impact on the sport of golf, though, and hatred and ignorance, as always, only really hurt the people who spout them. Garcia looked stupid enough when he completely collapsed on the final two holes of the Players, falling from a shot at the title to 7th place by dropping three balls in the water. He looks far stupider now, showing himself to be just another ignorant moron.
Bad sports, continued:
2) A few years ago, some friends and I used to joke about having a fantasy football league where points were scored by players being arrested or getting in some kind of trouble. If that league were real, former Detroit Lions wide receiver Titus Young would be a slam dunk to be a first-round pick in the next draft. Recently, he was arrested three separate times within the space of a few days. This week, while being arraigned, Young refused to speak to the judge. He would not even confirm that his name was Titus Young. Spectacular.
3) Nate McClouth, left-fielder for the Baltimore Orioles, made a fantastic tumbling catch in Toronto on Thursday, falling into the stands to make a catch of a foul ball. A classy Toronto fan responded by throwing his beer at McClouth.
4) Incumbent Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has been suspended from the team and from the school for some sort of academic misconduct, it was announced on Saturday. It sounds a lot like cheating of some kind, but the school can not legally say what the offense was.
5) Boy, is Rutgers a mess or what? Their basketball coach and athletic director were fired recently after a videotape surfaced showing coach Mike Rice verbally and physically abusing his players. Newly named coach Eddie Jordan then became the center of a controversy when it was revealed that he never actually got a degree from Rutgers despite what it said on his resume. Now, the school’s brand new athletic director, Julie Hermann, has seen the spotlight focus on her. She apparently resigned from her position as head volleyball coach at the University of Tennessee in 1997 after a letter, written and signed by the entire team, complained to the school about her abusive treatment of them during their careers. Worse, she denied any memory of these events of this letter when questioned about it. Who exactly is making the hiring decisions at Rutgers? They might want to look up the concept of “background checks.”
6) Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco signed a gigantic contract a few months ago. This week, his agent, Joe Linta, ripped the team for not having signed his client the previous year, which would have cost them less money. He is likely right, but I can’t imagine what he accomplished by making this pronouncement, other than generating some ill will toward Flacco, who is already taking some heat for the fact that the size of his contract appeared to cause the team to have to cut a bunch of other players.
7) Check out this picture of the weapons that were confiscated from fans entering the final of the Coppa Italia in Rome this week. The world is a scary place.
8) Television has caused very tangible changes in the world of sports. As fans, this is something we just have to accept. When television actually changes the outcome of an event, though, it’s just bad news. On Sunday night, a cable carrying television equipment over the track at NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 snapped and fell to the ground, causing damage to several cars and also injuring a number of fans. Kyle Busch, who was one of the leaders in the early portion of the race, saw his car take a bunch of damage from the incident, and ended up out of the race after it seemed his team might have managed to fix the smashed-up car.
1) After a long period of discussion, the governing bodies of professional golf officially banned the practice known as “anchored putting.” The ban will go into effect for the 2016 season. Several recent champions, including Adam Scott and Ernie Els, use these “belly putters” that will no longer be allowed. I have no idea if a player gets an actual advantage from this, but it looks stupid and I hate the name “belly putters,” so I am all for the ban.
2) Awards should be earned based on merit, not advertising, but that has not stopped schools all over the country from running advertising campaigns for their players that have a shot at the Heisman Trophy. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is one of the early favorites for next year’s award, but he openly stated this week that he does not want any campaigning on his behalf by his school. Good for him.
3) There are people who say that an inside-the-park-homerun is the most exciting play in baseball. How about one that ends a game? Angel Pagan of the San Francisco Giants managed one of those on Saturday to beat the Colorado Rockies.
4) Last year, soccer player Robbie Rogers came out as gay and retired from professional soccer at the same time. This week, he returned to the sport, signing with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He said that the recent announcement by active NBA player Jason Collins inspired him.
5) Two different events held this weekend gave runners from the interrupted Boston Marathon a chance to symbolically finish the race. Three thousand of them ran the final mile of the original course in Boston on Sunday, crossing the finish line right by the location where the bombing occurred back in April. Another group finished by crossing the famed “yard of bricks” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway just before the start of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday
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