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.