Friday, January 18, 2008

The Golfweek, Kelly Tilghman kerfuffle

How did it get this far?

In case you're not famaliar with the situation, here's a recap. Kelly Tilghman is an on-air personality for The Golf Channel. During coverage of the PGA Tour's season-opening tournament, The Mercedez-Benz Championship, Kelly was discussing what the young players on tour need to do in order to compete with Tiger Woods. Her co-host, Nick Faldo joked that maybe they need to gang up on him. Kelly laughed and piled on by saying "lynch him in a back alley". And with that, her career changed forever.

Her remark was careless as the word "lynch" is forever linked to the hanging of slaves hundreds of years ago. Kelly made a mistake and used a poor choice of words. But in no way do I believe that her comments reflected racist tendencies burried within her.

The story was picked up by NY Newday and Al Sharpton called for Tilghman to be fired. He said that his National Action Network would boycott Golf Channel headquarters in Orlando unless action was taken. TGC caved and suspended Tilghman for 2 weeks. Tilghman apologized to TGC viewers and directly to Tiger Woods. Tiger forgave Kelly (he knows and likes her and doesn't believe she is a racist), realizing that she made a poor choice of words and the issue was just about over. Until Wednesday...

That's when Golfweek Magazine put the visual of a swinging noose on the cover of their magazine, inserting themselves in the middle of this issue. Why would they do this? As one reader noted, the visual is far more offensive than Kelly's comments. Golfweek's decision became the main topic of discussion at the industry trade show this week. Readers will be lost. Advertisers may be lost. Golfweek's reputation has taken a significant hit. And Dave Seanor is apparently going to be the fall guy. He was fired as editor of Golfweek on Thursday night. By going too far in reporting the news, Mr. Seanor became the news. Not a good thing, even in the publishing business. They say no publicity is bad publicity. I bet Golfweek would

I'm not trying to diminish the impact of racism in this country. But to me, Ms Tilghman didn't mean any harm by her comment. The fact that a media frenzy erupted is ridiculous. The desire to drive ratings and readers has tainted the way news is reported today. It's a shame.

Kelly, I support you.

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