Friday, January 11, 2008


In one way this could be good.

But in many ways this is bad. Really bad.

Those who champion equal rights must be somewhat satisfied that Kelly Tilghman is actually being treated the same way a man would be. Because for the first few days after the story broke, she really wasn't.

Golf Channel broadcaster Tilghman's unfortunate and potentially offensive remark about Tiger Woods one week ago was widely reported. She and the channel apologized publicly, and Tilghman apologized to Woods over the phone. Woods accepted the apology. Golf Channel said there would be no disciplinary action towards Tilghman.

Case closed? End of story?

If so, great. But we wondered how this would have been handled had a male sportscaster made such a mistake. If past examples are any clue, it wouldn't have been pretty.

An inebriated Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder lost his job at CBS over a racial statement that had no malicious intent. And despite a career filled with efforts on behalf of African-American athletes, Howard Cosell was shrouded in controversy following his "little monkey" remark about Washington Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett. Cosell meant the term to describe someone of diminutive size, and had used the phrase on the air a decade earlier about Mike Adamle, who is white. Frustrated and angered over the furor that spanned the entire 1983 season, Cosell did not return to Monday Night Football in 1984.

Yet for several days following her gaffe, Kelly Tilghman faced no such furor.

That is until Al Sharpton jumped up and threatened to have his National Action Network supporters picket Golf Channel's Orlando HQ if Tilghman wasn't fired. According to CNN, Sharpton "compared Tilghman's statement to calling for a woman to be raped or for a Jewish-American to be sent to a gas chamber. "

Does anyone find THAT remark offensive?

Tiger Woods issued a statement through his agent saying he was friends with Tilghman and, "We know unequivocally that there was no ill intent in her comments." But that's not nearly good enough for Sharpton.

In what looks like an appeasement effort, Golf Channel reversed course and suspended Tilghman on Wednesday for two weeks. The channel did so in an anonymous statement, with no executive or spokesperson standing publicly behind the action.

"The GOLF CHANNEL regrets the poorly chosen remarks made by Kelly Tilghman on a recent broadcast and, again, extends our apologies to anyone who was offended. There is simply no place on our network for offensive language like this. While we believe that Kelly's choice of words were inadvertent and that she did not intend them in an offensive manner, the words were hurtful and grossly inappropriate. Consequently, we have decided to suspend Kelly for two weeks, effective immediately."

Whether Golf Channel's cowardly act is good enough for Sharpton to recall his troops remains to be seen.

Welcome to the boys' club Kelly Tilghman.

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