Tigers rejection of our community, like OJ Simpson before him, comes with a price. Black people can and do revel in the meaning of his extraordinary triumph, but were not cheering him
Michael Jordan called it the greatest comeback he has ever seen. After all the trials and tribulations, all the ridicule and mockery, all the personal and professional humiliations, Tiger Woods shocked the world by fighting off a field of younger competitors to win his first major title in over a decade at Augusta National Golf Club.
You may not have a pulse if you didnt feel at least a little warm inside as Tiger passionately embraced his son behind the 18th green, a scene reminiscent of the bear hug that he shared with his late father Earl Woods after winning the Masters for the first time back in 1997. As a father, I can honestly say that it almost made my allergies start acting up.
Couple that with the fact that it happened at the Masters on a course that was literally built on the grounds of a slave plantation, one that no black golfer had ever even competed on until Lee Elder in 1975, at a club that didnt even have a black member until 1990.
Couple that with this Tigers personal history with Augusta: the TV interview as a teenager when the reporter asked which tournament most captured his imagination and he answered the Masters and the reporter asked why and a confident, wet-behind-the-ears 14-year-old boldly answered because of how blacks have been treated there, like they shouldnt be there, and if I win this tournament it would be definitely be big for us.
Couple that with the instances of publicly expressed bigotry that Tiger has been made to endure over the years, including but hardly limited to racist remarks by Fuzzy Zoeller, Kelly Tilghman and Sergio Garcia.
Couple that with the way the mainstream media built Tiger up as a golf Superman only to tear him down almost gleefully as they discovered his kryptonite. The sense persisted that many in America were almost cheering when he no longer performed at a Tiger Woods level of domination, transforming him into an object of sneering and taunts. (Even this year, an Augusta patron was spotted wearing a t-shirt with his mugshot on the front.)
And now, finally, Tiger was able to relish the satisfaction of reprisal like Arya Stark with her needle sword as she exacted her revenge on everyone who meant her nothing but harm. This was Tigers moment to bask in his glory.
But even with all of that, I found it extremely difficult to fully embrace the moment because theres another aspect to the story lurking around the corner to meet me, much to my surprise, like Jaime Lannister locking eyes with Bran Stark.
The fact that Tiger has stood unapologetically alongside Donald Trump is particularly troubling to me. Now let me say I have absolutely no problem with Woods voicing a political opinion that differs from mine. Im not a person who wants to silence anyone who has an opinion or supports a position that I dont agree with and attempt to discredit them, demean them or personally attack them in any way shape or form. Just as I applaud LeBron James and Steph Curry and the entire Golden State Warriors under head coach Steve Kerr for taking the stance that they didnt want to attend the White House after their NBA championship because their politics didnt align with Trumps, I also have to support somebody like Tom Bradys choice to not want to attend when President Obama was in office because thats his right, even if I dont agree with it. If I dont, I fall into the same category of a Laura Ingraham, who told LeBron and Kevin Durant to shut up and dribble simply because their opinion differs from hers.
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