I Took Him Literally
The HSBC WGC event started yesterday in the far East and Graeme McDowell took a -5 under 1st round lead. What was more interesting is what Patrick Reed did and said as he played the 1st hole. Reed hit the green in regulation and then 3 whacked for bogey. He was not pleased, and his displeasure was caught on camera for all to see and hear.
Ok, you heard him. He missed the putt and said something along the lines of “nice fucking three putt you fucking faggot”. Do I condone that? No, I’m not a bigot. Does this make Patrick Reed a bigot? It does not. Of course it isn’t that simple. As a competitive athlete, Reed is simply a product of his environment. I’m sure he’s heard this type of talk all his life in the south while playing sports. This shit is heard on NFL fields during games, and as Kobe Bryant taught us, all over the NBA courts as well.
Does that make the use of such words excusable? That is an opinion that must be decided by the fans and the tour. Rumors are circling that he’ll be fined a large (undisclosed) amount by the tour brass. That has to happen as a P.R. move by them. How will the fans react? They moved past it pretty quickly for Kobe. And Reed is already showing remorse for the slur as his tweet shows.
That’s reads like a save-the-sponsors move, but the right first move to forgiveness and forgetting. Hey, I hear this type of thing in my office when guys are giving each other shit. I hear it from my buddies on the golf course when putts are made to clinch bets. This is how many straight macho guys talk when their boss, grandma, or pastor isn’t around to hear them. They don’t have microphones near them to pick it up and make it available on the internet. They’re not bigots either. Slurs like this go unnoticed when they’re not made in public. There are no repercussions. Should there be? Who is offended (tree falling in the woods theory)? What Reed did will make people more aware of hateful words, but will they still be used around less offended companions. I assume, yes.
My gut says Reed will likely donate cash to a gay rights charity as a way to make amends. The 24 hour news cycle will move on from this, and by his next Ryder Cup appearance Americans will be rooting for him like he’s Rocky fighting Apollo Creed. I’d like for the media to ask his fellow players about what Reed said. They’d all give the PC answer, but I doubt any of them were actually offended, except perhaps Martin Kaymer.
Reed should just be happy he’s an independent contractor that can’t be fired by the tour, the USGA, the PGA, etc. like you or I could be fired by our employers. He’d surely be out on his ass. Speaking of which, I’m betting that somewhere in Indiana, Ted Bishop is writing Pat a thank you note for taking the ‘Public Enemy of Golf ‘title away from him this week.