Liberals’ Shallow and Disrespectful Response to Tiger Woods’ Award

Written by Bill Thomas on May 8, 2019

Jackie Robinson, major league baseball’s first African-American player once said, “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me. All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”

Robinson had a great point that liberals in America have forgotten. On Monday, May 6, 2019, President Trump awarded golfer Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom, describing the 43-year-old as a “true legend” who transformed golf and then fought through years of injury to return to the sport’s highest level. Woods was, naturally, humbled by the award and demonstrated grace in receiving it. He tweeted, “It’s an incredible privilege to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Considering the recipients, history, and what this means to me and my family, it’s also very humbling.” Woods became the fourth golfer to receive the award. President George W. Bush presented the honor to Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus in 2004 and 2005, respectively. President Barack Obama gave the Medal of Freedom to Charlie Sifford, the first African-American to join the PGA Tour, in 2014.

You’d think that would be an occasion for which everyone could come together and celebrate. Even if you weren’t a Tiger Woods fan, it is still an amazing thing to come back from the injuries he’s had over the years and compete again at the highest level. It’s also a tribute to a man who opened the game of golf to people who may have never considered it before. Tiger Woods is an African-American, who like Jackie Robinson, broke down barriers and challenged stereotypes. Again, you’d think liberals would celebrate someone like this. They’ve celebrated people who’ve done a whole lot less. At the minimum, Woods ought to be afforded what Robinson asked for in the 1940’s and 1950’s; respect.

If you thought that, you’d be wrong. Woods is getting anything but respect. In The New York Times, Rick Reilly, the author of “Commander in Cheat: How Golf Explains Trump” said, “It sullies everybody.” He also asserted that the award “puts a big stain on Tiger.”

Eugene Robinson, of The Washington Post and an MSNBC contributor, insinuated that Woods was maybe not deserving of the award and President Trump only gave it so he could cozy up to him. He suggested Trump had sullied the “hallow” nature of the award. “He gives this award, which was a hallow award, maybe someday it will be one again, to people he wants to associate himself with. And so, he likes golf.”

Christine Brennan, of USA Today and CNN, also mocked the occasion saying, “You can see Donald Trump wants to attach himself to Tiger Woods. That’s what I think this was about. The other part of this whole thing is that when you think about golf and you think about these two men linked together, this was just kind of a ‘bro event,’ almost like a 19th hole without the alcohol.” 

So, let’s get this straight. According to Reilly receiving an award from President Trump sullies Woods. Robinson doesn’t think Woods deserves the award anyway. It’s just Trump’s ego at play trying to connect to Woods. Brennan refuses to consider that it might be that the president is truly impressed by what Woods’ accomplished in his career. For her, it can’t be about achievement or excellence.

It’s hard for me to understand their thinking. Are these people so consumed with hate that they can’t find even a minute to celebrate something? I can’t help but think that if Tiger Woods were African-American, it would be different — wait. He is. And you know what? It isn’t different. You want to know why? Because the liberals lie about celebrating minority achievement and success. They only celebrate or honor those African-Americans who think the right way.

The Baltimore Sun editorial from May 6, 2019 begins, “A growing list of athletes have declined invitations from President Donald Trump to visit the White House as a stance against his racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. Sadly, Tiger Woods isn’t one of them.” It is the opinion page, I know, but it’s hard to swallow the lie that passes for accepted truth: Trump’s racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric. That’s just not true. President Trump can be called many things, but racist isn’t one of them. So, thus far, from The Baltimore Sun, we see that they are chagrined that Tiger Woods isn’t toeing the line.

The editorial concludes, “Mr. Woods has made his choice, and part of his legacy will be embracing a man who incited bigotry and racism. That’s the opposite of athletes like basketball players Stephen Curry and Lebron James who have declined White House visits and openly criticized the president. Unlike Tiger Woods, these athletes are using the platform they have been granted to stand up for something they believe in. They will be remembered for it.”

So, let’s step back a minute. According to the fair-minded people at The Baltimore Sun, LeBron James and Steph Curry stand up for what they believe, and they will be remembered for it. But, somehow, according to The Baltimore Sun, Tiger Woods isn’t standing up for what he believes? Do they really think they have the inside and only track to morality? Do they truly believe that only they possess virtue?

If LeBron James and Steph Curry want to disrespect the president, they can. That’s rude where I come from, but they still have the right to do it. However, Tiger Woods also has the right to like the president. He certainly has the right to accept an award from him. That should be respected, too. As Jackie Robinson noted, it isn’t about liking or disliking. It ought to be about respect.

Bill Thomas
Bill Thomas lives in Washington, Missouri and is a professor at St. Louis Christian College. He's also on staff at First Christian Church in Washington, Missouri. He's authored two novellas, From the Ashes and The Sixty-First Minute published by White Feather Press of MI and three Bible studies, Surrounded by Grace, The Critical Questions and More and The Road to Victory published by CSS Publishing of OH.