Golf Channel executives said this week that support is growing for anchor Kelly Tilghman, who is serving a two-week suspension for saying on the air that young players would have to “lynch” Tiger Woods “in a back alley” to end his dominance. Tilghman apologized on the air and in person to her friend Woods, who said through a spokesman that the remark was a “non-issue.” The Rev. Al Sharpton called for Tilghman to be fired, saying the racially insensitive comment was “beyond the pale.” (Orlando Sentinel)
What the commentators said
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Woods and Sharpton are both wrong, said Leonard Pitts in The Miami Herald (free registration). Woods dismisses every disgusting joke about his African American heritage. What would it take to “get a rise out of this guy—burning crosses on his front lawn?” But Tilghman has paid for her “brain cramp.” She apologized, she was suspended, “so my advice to Rev. Al: Move on.”
Forget firing, said Langston Wertz Jr. in The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer. Even the suspension was excessive. “It was a poor choice of words”—the kind of thing that happens on live TV—and the “media storm” that followed blew the gaffe out of proportion. The “public shame” that Tilghman has faced in the days since has been “punishment enough.”
Sorry, but the suspension was warranted, said Leonard Shapiro in The Washington Post (free registration), and it was “just about the right length.” But this was not firing offense like Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder’s “repugnantly racist remarks on slave breeding.” It was mostly a sad reminder that, on live TV, “silence often can be golden, with no mindless quips necessary.”
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