On Friday at the BMW PGA Championship, America’s favorite Scot, Colin Montgomerie, chimed in on the Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia spat, particularly in reference to Sergio’s “fried chicken” remark and European Tour CEO George O’Grady’s “colored athletes” comment while he was trying to defend Garcia.
Naturally, Monty came to the defense of Sergio and O’Grady, saying the whole thing had been blown out of proportion and suggested players would now be scared to talk to the press because you have to be just *so* PC.
“It’s a mountain out of a molehill, to be honest. Totally,” Montgomerie said, via the AP. “I hope it hasn’t taken away from the BMW, who have set up a fantastic tournament. Now we’ve got the chief executive involved in the whole thing having to say ‘sorry.’ 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.”
Puh-lease. It’s one thing to express your opinion, but it’s another to make antiquated and racially insensitive remarks. I know in Britain, it’s still common for older generations to use the word “colored” when referring to people of African descent, but in the 21st century, it’s considered antiquated and offensive. (As an Asian-American, I feel that way about “Oriental” and I’m not exactly easily offended, nor the most PC person. I have friends who make what would be considered racially insensitive comment all the time — you know, the usual Asian ones, like, dry-cleaning and rice, etc. — but you can tell with their tone and the context that it is just a joke. If it’s someone trying to be cruel, then that’d be a big no-no, and there are others who are just ignorant.)
“George says colored, somebody says black, but who is to say who is right and wrong, and for the chief executive who is a very educated man to get caught up then we need to decide what we can and can’t say and move on quickly,” Montgomerie said.
O’Grady was attempting to defend Garcia and said, “most of Sergio’s friends are colored athletes in the United States.” Which is the equivalent of saying, “Oh, no big deal, he’s definitely not racist because he has tons of black friends.” I wouldn’t suggest that defense, especially if you’re the head of a worldwide sporting organization, especially if it’s golf, which has a long history of exclusion.
However, for the record, I don’t believe Sergio is racist, I just think he’s not very smart and he was trying to be funny, witty and slightly mean. Had he said that he was going to have Tiger over for dinner all the time and invite his ex-wife Elin Nordegren, or say, serve pancakes, then that would have fit the bill and everyone would have laughed.
And, while I think just about all of us will agree that there is no place for a racially-insensitive remark, you are allowed to feel bad for Sergio without being a racist. (After all, everyone messes up, and one thing we know about Sergio is that he *is* honest, so when he says he feels bad and it was a mistake, chances are, he’s not lying.) Not according to Monty, though!
“I feel for Garcia, but then that’s me condoning it. I am not allowed to feel sorry for him,” said Montgomerie. “But we are a family here on the European Tour, a close family unit, and we stand up for each other. I’ve played a lot of Ryder Cups with Sergio, and we are a very close family, and we should remain that way. This shouldn’t affect us.”
Blah, blah, blah. But no, it shouldn’t affect anyone’s friendship with Sergio, but I’m sure those close to him have told him that his “fried chicken” remark was utterly idiotic.