Aren’t the guys in the suits supposed to be the ones who say all the right things? Not in the European Golf Tour, where its chief executive, George O’Grady (pictured, far left), enmeshed himself in the Tiger Woods-Sergio Garcia feud in a most embarrassing way.
Garcia of course went overboard on Tuesday, saying that if he served Tiger Woods dinner it would be “fried chicken.” Many consider that a racist remark, and Garcia apologized, twice. Lots of folks figured that might finally end their feud (which dates to 1999), but apparently they were wrong.
The European Tour has decided not to punish Garcia for the fried chicken remark, which he made at the European Tour Awards Dinner in London. That left O’Grady open to charges that the Tour was being too cozy with Garcia. In a statement denying this, O’Grady made things worse. Key excerpt:
“We know the connotation in the United States. We accept all races on the European Tour, we take it very strongly. Most of Sergio’s friends are coloured athletes in the United States and he is absolutely abject in his apology and we accepted it.”
Andddd … here’s the apology:
O’Grady later apologised for using the term “coloured”, saying: “I deeply regret using an inappropriate word in a live interview for Sky Sports for which I unreservedly apologise.”
The BBC analyst Alan Hansen apologised after using the “coloured” term on Match of the Day in Dec, 2011.
My favorite tweet on this so far:
— J. Doug Hatings (@basquiatball) May 23, 2013
That’s the problem when you have a controversy that reaches across oceans and spans different cultures and sensibilities. Garcia is Spanish, and was speaking in Britain about an American golfer who has roots in the U.S. and Thailand. That’s a lot of different opportunities to screw up. But O’Grady is paid to negotiate that landscape. He should know better.