No Noose (Would've Been) Good Noose.

We can almost picture it: a huddle of newsmen in a windowless room in Orlando, sniggling over the mock-up of their next magazine cover. First they’re casting furtive glances at one another and making clucking noises, each afraid to offer up a real opinion. Then, all at once, they start to notice their gazes strengthen. They’ve reached an understanding. They’re making a bold choice here. They’re gonna sell above average by a really wide margin–and they’re breaking ground in golf periodicals at the same time! They’ll be the talk of the “serious golfers” to whom they market, when they unveil this:

“Yes,” they said to themselves. “Yes, a noose on the cover. That’s brilliant!”

It was one thing when Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman got beside herself and suggested lynching Tiger Woods in a back alley. Woods rarely seems *publicly* scathed by these kinds of things anymore. A quick apology from Tilghman in the face of her suspension and a quick word from his agent calling her comment “a non-issue,” and this could’ve been just another one for the “Well-meaning bigots who just want golf back the way it was before Blacks were allowed on the green in a non-caddy capacity” file.

But GolfWeek wants to pick scabs–and they want to hide behind “clever” wordplay to do it. We can just hear them now, back at the meeting: “Oh, I see what you did there! Kelly ‘slips’ up. Golf Channel can’t wriggle free. You made it so the white people are the ones getting hung here. No African American could possibly be offended by that!”

Is there any wonder that they’re nonplussed by the backlash?

Today, the editor responsible for signing off on the cover was canned. Of course Golfweek‘s parent company, Turnstile Publishing, is full of lofty regret and apology and presumption that all’s well that ends well.


slb (aka Stacia L. Brown) is a writer, mother, and college instructor in Baltimore, MD. Check her out here: and here:
  • verdeluz

    oh for the love of god.

    kind of makes you wonder how long they’d been waiting to do that.

  • The wording of the apology bothers me; “We’re sorry the cover offended you” and not “We’re sorry we ran an offensive cover.”

  • GVG

    I was thinking the same thing as G.D., the “apology” just acknowledged our obvious outrage over such an offensive cover without taking ownership of producing such a negative cover. I also hate the use of the word provocative in their statements and any others when something like this happens as justification to do anything offensive under the guise of boundary pushing ________ (fill in the blank).

  • gimme a U
    gimme a S
    gimme a A
    USA! USA! USA! and de.mockery
    this surprises you? lol

  • i actually saw the comment and the scary thing is she was right, thats the only way can beat him, is to kill him, i didnt think it was racist…..great post….lets us not forget about the MLK this weekend

  • Rawdawg: you think she was right? I’m sure an argument could be made that what she said wasn’t inherently racist, but this cover is in pretty bad taste.

  • slb

    the argument i’ve been seeing a lot of is the argument that free speech should insulate both the editor and the commentator from reprimand. it’s been argued that racially incendiary language and images are protected under the first amendment and so no one should lose a job (or even have his/her wrist slapped with a two-week suspension) over his/her own freedom of expression.

    what say you?

  • SLB: Someone actually said that?

    A person’s right to say something doesn’t protect them from social fallout regarding their words, like, say, losing your job at the head of a niche magazine. The host of The Today Show, say, has the right to yell ‘I hate fags!’ at the top of his lungs, and NBC would be well within their rights to distance themselves from him for saying it. He is using their organ to say it, and they reserve the right to take that platform away from him.

    Tighlman and this editor had the right to say what they said just as the people who watch her network or read his magazine have the right to complain about what they said.

  • slb

    GD: I guess the argument goes NBC or that niche magazine would also be “well within their rights” to stand behind their employees’ rights to freedom of expression/free speech. They reserve the right *not* to take a person’s platform away, too.

    Of course if they did stand behind their employees, they’d still experience the social fallout you’ve mentioned (reader/viewer boycotts, decline in sales, etc.), but what if they didn’t? What if public outcry was tepid at best and neither NBC nor Golfweek sustained a substantial loss in viewers or readers, post-slurs?

    That’d empower more people to hang nooses or to say whatever they’d wish about whomever they wish without threat of serious consequence. I think this may have been what happened with Tilghman (if the Golf Channel does stick to its initial wrist-slap of two weeks off) and with the folks who continue to display nooses on college campuses or burn crosses in residential neighborhoods. They see that nothing much is being done to their predecessors (Imus got a new job; the initial noose-hangers in the Jena Six incident have yet to experience any of the ramifications of the Six themselves; and Tiger’s agent claims he and Tilghman have “been friends for years,” making her statement a “non-issue”).

  • Nice post I am here to share