Add ESPN to the growing list of companies to cut ties with Donald Trump, following his derogatory remarks about Mexican immigrants in his presidential launch speech. The World Wide Leader has decided to move next week’s ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic from Trump National Golf Club to Pelican Hill Golf Club on July 14.
“We decided it was appropriate to change the venue, and are grateful for the opportunity to stage the event at Pelican Hill on short notice,” said ESPN in a statement Monday. “This charity outing benefits The V Foundation’s Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, providing resources for important cancer research for minority populations, including Hispanics and African Americans.
“Our decision reflects our deep feelings for our former colleague and support for inclusion of all sports fans. Diversity and inclusion are core values at ESPN and our decision also supports that commitment.”
ESPN is just the latest company to distance itself from the real estate mogul. Two weeks ago, Univision, the largest Spanish-speaking broadcast station in the U.S., backed out of airing the Miss USA pageant, which Trump partly owns. NBC Universal, a 50/50 owner of the pageant franchise, also pulled its support. The network will also discontinue its broadcast of Trump-owned Celebrity Apprentice.
Macy’s and NASCAR have also severed ties with the so-called Republican Presidential candidate.
Last month in Trump’s speech announcing his Presidential candidacy, he made extremely ridiculous comments regarding Mexican immigrants and contended that the U.S. had become a “dumping ground” for these supposed terrible people.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
Now, Trump is deeply involved in the golf world and holds relationships with the industry’s most prominent organizations, including the USGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and LPGA. Last week in a post, I listed the various Trump-owned and operated venues that host big-time events.
The WGC-Cadillac Championship is held at Trump National Doral in Miami and the Puerto Rico Open is at Trump International. Trump National in Bedminister, N.J., will host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open and the 2022 PGA Championship — the type of big-time events that Trump has long coveted to hold at his properties.
The 2017 Senior PGA Championship will be played at Trump National Golf Club in Potomac Falls, Va. In October the PGA Grand Slam of Golf — an exhibition for the year’s four major winners (though it’s rare all show up) — will be held at Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Trump recently purchased Turnberry in Scotland, which has hosted four Open Championships and the Women’s British Open is being played there later this summer (though it’s run by the Ladies Golf Union).
The four largest golf organizations in the U.S. issued a joint statement last week in response to Trump’s comment — which was the right thing to do, but a tepid response, at best.
“In response to Mr. Trump’s comments about the golf industry ‘knowing he is right’ in regards to his recent statements about Mexican immigrants, we feel compelled to clarify that those remarks do not reflect the views of our organizations.
“While the LPGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour and USGA do not usually comment on Presidential politics, Mr. Trump’s comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf.”
Golf needs to follow suit with NASCAR and ESPN and cut ties with Trump. If not, the organizations are almost tacitly saying they are OK with Trump’s deranged and bigoted views. The game already has a long-documented history of exclusionary practices, along with racism and sexism.
Sure, Trump has stepped up to the plate and helped the golf industry at times when others wouldn’t, but that’s not an “excuse” to maintain their current and future relationships with him and hold tournaments at courses that bear his name.
What will happen if the WGC-Cadillac Championship returns to Trump National Doral next March. There’s obviously a very large and dominant Latino population in the Miami area, and certainly, there will be protestors and picketers outside of the property during the week of the event. (The event is also broadcasted by NBC, which is another interesting twist.) Is that the type of publicity the PGA Tour wants? Just its mere association with Trump is toxic.
I understand there are contracts in place and logistical issues, but it’s nothing lawyers can’t figure out and it’s worth the effort to deal with the hassle of changing venues, especially for the events years down the line. Sure, it’ll cost a fair sum of money to break deals, but I’m sure the organizations find the money in their budgets to afford it. The PGA Grand Slam in October only features four players, so certainly, the PGA of America can find another venue to hold the event without it being too much of an inconvenience.
The industry simply needs to sack up. It’s time for golf to dump Trump — and it should happen as swiftly as possible.