No, No Sergio! Make The Call!
We are The Original Tee Golf Club (OTGC). The OTGC is a golf club that pays homage to and celebrates the rich history of African Americans participating in the game of golf. As advocates for diversity and inclusion in the game of golf, it is with great disappointment that We write this to you. However, in light of the recent “fried chicken” comment made by Sergio Garcia at the BMW Championship event We are compelled to express our dismay and our club’s concern. We would like to see a fine imposed upon Sergio Garcia and his Adidas sponsorship rescinded for the following reasons. The rules and ethics that professional golfers are required to abide by have always been of the highest standing. Some may even say the rules have been unforgiving at times. When a rule is infracted in golf there is always certain to be a consequential penalty as a result. The rules standard in golf is so high in fact that it is the only sport where one is actually expected to call rules violations upon themselves. . . even when no one is looking. To the governing bodies of the PGA, We say, we as golfers and African Americans of high integrity and fair practice are asking that you make a call. The call that needs to be made is to send a clear message that racial slurs and discrimination in golf, whether serious or lighthearted are no longer acceptable and will be met with consequences. The history of professional golf is riddled with this kind of inexcusable behavior and these kinds of old boy network comments that have long treated people of color as outsiders who are not welcome. Golf's gatekeepers have historically sat idly by, largely indifferent to the horrible indignities that it's African American participants have endured. Sergio Garcia’s comment indicates that the same mentality dating back to before 1961 still exists. Garcia’s comment reminds us of the PGA of America’s Caucasian Only Clause; that made professional golf a sport exclusively for white men until it was lifted to allow Charlie Sifford to be the first African American to play professional golf. The tragic and despicable history of golf has never allowed African Americans the luxury to believe in the innocence of the game in America nor can we believe that the disparaging comments by Sergio Garcia towards Tiger Woods are harmless. Considering Sergio’s recent public announcement of his disdain for Tiger Woods it is quite evident that the context in which he used “fried chicken” was meant to be pejorative. In his apology he stated that his comments "were stupid and totally out of place." We accept the stupid part but "out of place" implies that there is indeed a place where such comments are acceptable. We ask where exactly is that place for Sergio Garcia to comfortably make such comments? To the PGA of America and PGA Tour who are passionate about taking on current controversial issues such as anchoring and banning the long putter, we say take a strong stance against racism and intolerance in 2013 and move the game in the right direction of the inclusion of all people. To Adidas, which has a beautiful history with the African American community dating as far back as 1936 when Adi Dassler himself, founder of the Adidas Shoe Company, put a pair of Adidas on the feet of the great African American Olympian, Jesse Owens as he won 4 gold medals for the United States of America; to RUN DMC reviving the Adidas brand and creating the Adidas anthem; to all the modern day athletes who endorse the Adidas brand with pride, driving sales and revenue, we ask that you drop Sergio Garcia as an Adidas Brand Athlete immediately. Until then We will not support or purchase your brand and we will ask all athletes associated with your brand to renounce it or suffer the consequences. We ask that golf’s most senior officials make the right call and take a stance against racism in order to uphold the game’s highest level of integrity and grow the game we all love and enjoy. We Remain, The Original Tee Golf Club