- By Jason Dougas Lewis
- In On the Soapbox
Golfer Sergio Garcia’s played the race card on Tiger Woods with the “fried chicken” reference, which insulted all African Americans.
Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods recently had a friendly exchange, but with their recent war of words, chances of these two being civil are pretty slim. Photo by The Associated Press
Please do not argue with the Sports Editor. That’s like dropping the “fried chicken” reference on a black person and then trying to convince people that you are not racist. It just doesn’t make sense. Illustration by David G. Brown
Originally published by the Los Angeles Sentinel www.lasentinel.net
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor (2010-2013)
Golfer Sergio Garcia showed his true colors during his verbal battle Tiger Woods. Some people will play dirty during arguments, and Garcia went way below the belt when he told reporters that he would be willing to have Woods over for dinner, and that he would serve fried chicken.
Garcia has been on the apology trail ever sense, but many people are not buying it, because it appears that part of his motives is to save his endorsement deals. He needs to clean up his image if he wants to keep those checks coming in.
This latest racial blast against Woods (Fuzzy Zoeller first used the “fried chicken” reference against Woods in 1997) illustrates what some of “them” think of all of “us.” Apparently it is okay to them, in a white dominated sport, to use racial taunts against a person of color.
Garcia said that he was caught off guard by the silly question about whether or not he would have Woods over for dinner, so he gave a silly answer. So if his guard was up, he would have known better to use the racial insult that he was thinking about? Looks like if he was in different company, such as being in the clubhouse where there are not very many black faces, that he would have been more than comfortable to make this statement.
If Garcia can make this type of slip up in a public setting, there is no telling what type of racial insults he would use against black people in private settings.
Garcia’s behavior should not be all that surprising. He is from Spain, and in Europe racial taunts in public settings are frowned upon, but they are tolerated, unlike in the United States. In Europe, black soccer players are constantly heckled by white fans in the crowd. They hear monkey chants, and fans throw bananas at them. That type of behavior is not encouraged, but there does not appear to be a major movement to stop it. There is racism in the United States, but racial taunts by large groups of fans at a sporting event are not tolerated in any way.
Garcia grew up in an environment where this behavior goes on, so his comments are simply par for the course.
There have been defenders of Garcia on the golf circuit. Golf Hall of Fame inductee Colin Montgomerie, who is Scottish, told the Associated Press that the controversy is overblown.
"It's a mountain out of a molehill, to be honest," Montgomerie said.
"We're all frightened to say anything; we're frightened to open our mouths in case we say something that isn't kosher in 2013. Somebody should tell us what to say because no one is quite sure what is right and wrong.”
So wait, these guys were not aware that a “fried chicken” reference to an African American is racist? These guys can’t figure out what not to say? And what year was a “fried chicken” reference acceptable? That would be before the Civil Rights era. Sounds like racism is rampant on that side of the pond. That they are so used to blasting black people that they cannot even figure out what is right or wrong to say.
Montgomerie went on to say that some people say “colored,” and some say “black,” and now they are confused what will get them in trouble. Ah, let’s not act stupid in trying to defend Garcia. It is pretty obvious what will fly under the radar and what will get a player in racial trouble.
It is interesting to read what some white people think about this situation. Ryan Reiterman, a senior producer at golf.com, said “I'd say it's a minor story between Tiger and Sergio.”
Okay, so a white guy dropping the “fried chicken” reference on a black guy is a minor story, and it is just between them? Ah, no. That blast insults all black people, not just Woods. If Garcia wanted to insult Woods only, Woods has given him more than enough ammunition through his personal life. But Garcia did not crack a joke about Woods bringing one of his many mistresses to dinner, no, he went to the race card, which is really a shot at all of us.
As for Woods, who has seemed to take issue with just being black, once again he knows what his peers think of him. Woods’ family tree has Asians, Native Americans, and Caucasians. He is mixed with several races, just like a good amount of African Americans. There is certainly nothing wrong with him honoring the other races that make him who he is, but he has seemed to want to distance himself from being an African American.
Well after another “fried chicken” blast, Woods should know what category that his peers put him in.