Would Tilghman Be History If She Were a Man?

That’s the question I have after reading this piece in the NY Times. In it, Golf Channel president Page Thompson has this to say:

Thompson said he did not contemplate any punishment harsher than the two-week suspension. Were talking about someone with a spotless, 10-year record, he said. There is no evidence in her background of offensive beliefs and statements. Shes a friend of Tiger Woodss. Shes a pioneer woman sportscaster. Her whole background would make you say that this is a remark that is completely out of character.

Does that mean if she hadn’t been “a pioneer woman sportscaster” she’d be toast now? I actually think that’s likely the case. The reaction to the whole Lynchgate scandal has been such that if she’d been anyone other than golf’s first female lead sports anchor, you have to think she’d have been dusted immediately for her comments.

And I side with the Times on this one — what was she thinking? But beyond that, why didn’t someone at the Golf Channel recognize the her vocal miscue and have her apologize immediately on Saturday? And is anyone bothered that both she and Nick Faldo thought the remark warranted some laughter?

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

13 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I’m one of the few (hundred thousand) that watched the event live and I didn’t even notice the comment. She could have made her point half a dozen ways; “tied Tiger up in the locker room”, “Pulled a Tanya Harding on him”, “slipped some exlax into his coffee”. She chose a word from her vocabulary that has a much bigger significance amongst the black population than anyone else and the righteous few have latched on it. Should she have been suspended, maybe, but if the great reverend hadn’t gotten on his podium and started posturing we would have largly forgotten about it.

  • Says Charles:

    “I’m one of the few (hundred thousand) that watched the event live and I didn’t even notice the comment…”. That is exactly the point. I am guessing that Charles does not live in the southern US and does not have any family or friends that were subject to racial violence and injustice suffered in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    For those that think the penalty Kelly suffered is too harsh, think respect…for those that have suffered and need not be reminded of racial discrimination and past injustices by poorly chosen words of a broadcaster on a live program.

  • The real isue here is how GC tossed someone not qualified for anchor work into that chair. Did nobody expect a disaster of some sort, if not this one, then something else? She is obviously in way over her head in that job and needs to be replaced by someone who has what it takes to work live as an anchor for hours at a time. Shame on GC for putting her there in the first place where she was almost certain to fail.

    • As my mom used to say about Kelly Ripa, You can hear her above everybody else on that show! She’s a good eaxpmle of how far you can rise if you’re a size 0, 85-pound bleached blonde with plenty of guts in today’s twisted world. When I first heard AB was going to be on Regis & Kelly I thought I’d have to watch it online because the San Antonio station that had carried it for something like 20 years dropped it a year or two ago for Rachael Ray’s show, but it turns out another local station has picked it up. I’ve had an immersion blender for ages and never had the nerve to try it, but I’m going to inaugurate it with this pumpkin soup.

  • Page Thompson talks about several reasons he did not contemplate a stiffer penalty for Kelly, the fact that she is a woman was only 1 small part of his thinking on the matter. It is clear from his comments that he would have made the same decision for a male with the same background and record as Kelly.

    I disagree with you Greg. Ben Wright was one of the most accomplished golf commentators when he made his comment about women’s bodies not being well suited to golf – the comment that led to his being fired. Gary McCord also had a fair amount of experience when he cracked about using bikini wax to cut the greens at Augusta – a crack that didn’t lead to his complete firing but his being dismissed from ever commentating on the Masters again. I applaud the golf Channel for nurturing new talent and giving people a chance instead of just doing what every other broadcaster would do.

    It’s obvious why Nick and Kelly were laughing at that moment, because the whole conversation had been a funny bit on how the rest of the new young talent was going to have a hard time beating Tiger. They didn’t see the comment as ugly or mean spirited – because it obviously wasn’t meant that way…………. But I can understand why you would bring it up again, it’s generated way more talk than any other topic on this blog.

  • Hey Longwhatever and others who do not see the uproar over Kelly T’s comments:

    You are an arrogant, snivelling, bottom feeder, useless, dumb, incompetent, a*shole! Wait a minute, you tell me you are offended by those comments? Hey, I am really sorry…I did not mean to offend you nor do I see these comments as ugly or mean spirited. It is just that I like to be direct and how I communicate. I’m sure you understand.

  • Dear Weekend Hack,

    I’m not sure what your point is, other than trying to get back at me for my factual to-the-point analysis of your posts regarding: “The End for Kelly Tilghman?”. But if you see some kind of equivalence between your post and what Kelly said during the telecast, then you have done my work for me.

    You are clearly a few clubs short of a full set………

    Good luck in all your endevours, hopefully they don’t involve much thought.

  • Longwhatever:

    The fact that you cannot see my point demonstrates exactly your narrow minded thought process. The post was intended to be controversial and extreme to highlight the fact that different people with diverse backgrounds react differently. To disregard how people reacted to Kelly’s comments means your judgement is superior to their’s…what makes you the authority?

    Respect and tolerance are important values for an advanced society. Shame you cannot see that. Hopefully others can.

  • Kelly is obviosly remorseful. Rev Sharpton, Rev Jackson and their respective groups pounce on every mis-step that presents itself to garner the limelight.
    Tiger and his people have said it is not an issue. His relationship with Kelly is obviously undamaged. As Tiger as done, everyone should move on.

  • Everyone needs to get over themselves. It was a joke, what would you have her said. Take out a hit on Tiger? Maybe, break his kneecaps? How about kidnap him? Is there no sense of humour allowed on TV anymore?
    Check out the Dean Martin roasts and what they said? Including the visible minorities. Rev. Sharpton promotes racism and hatred against whites but no one seems to care about that. Bryant Gumble can say that the winter olympics doesn’t have the best atheletes because there are few blacks competing and he is still on the air.
    I am not even a Kelly fan but it is a symbol of what is wrong with people being too sensitive.

  • I like Faldo but he should have offerred up an apology as well if apologies are warranted. He laughed along with her. I do believe that Canadians are somewhat less sensitive to the term than others but to me it sounded innocuous. Why no outcry when Faldo commented on Mrs. Sabbatini’s T-shirt last year? I thought that was kind of innapropriate even though I found it humorous.

  • The next phase of this saga would be the anticipated return of Kelly Tilghman on air.

    If I were TGC, I would start promoting the return of Kelly Tilghman like they promote anything with Tiger and Wie. I would make that a 2-hour special.

    Some ideas:
    – Playing Lesson with Kelly Tilghman
    – Grey Goose 19th Hole with Kelly Tilghman
    – Golf Central with special appearance by Kelly Tilghman
    – The Perfect Club informercial featuring Kelly Tilghman

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