Escondido, CA
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Hello Colin!


I have been conflicted about Tiger Woods ever since he came out as a pro and was the subject of a controversial ad campaign by Nike. Remember “Hello World”? 

There are still courses in the U.S. I am not allowed to play

Because of the color of my skin.

Hello world.

I’ve heard I’m not ready for you.

Are you ready for me?

After Woods signed a $40M contract with Nike just a few days after turning pro, the company decided they would support the young man with something edgy. A campaign that suggested a young black man may not be accepted by “racist” America.

The ad was suggestive but not accusatory. It was edgy and different, and so was Tiger. It didn’t take long for Tiger to knock out any anxiety “white” Americans might have had about a young black man dominating the iconoclastic sport of golf. I think we can all agree, people of every color and persuasion embraced Tiger.

Recently, Tiger was asked about the controversial new Nike ad, introducing former 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the company’s new worldwide spokesperson.

“I think Nike is trying to get out ahead of it and trying to do something special and I think they’ve done that,” Tiger told the media.  “It’s a beautiful spot …”

Beautiful? From a technical standpoint, like everything Nike does, it is well produced. But from the viewpoint of those who find the kneeling movement offensive, I have to ask Tiger one important question: Will we see Tiger Woods take a knee during the Star Spangled Banner traditionally played during the introduction of the American Team during this year’s Ryder Cup Tournament in Paris?

I am challenging a golf icon to answer Kaepernick’s challenge. On which side do you stand, Tiger? Please don’t equivocate. Will the issue transcend football? Who will be the activist leader in the sport of golf? 

I can only hope Tiger stands for the Anthem. Because Tiger, like so many other successful people of color, symbolizes what makes America so great. He represents a wonderful success story. No one would have suggested, thirty years ago, that the greatest golfer to ever live would end up being a black man.

I, like many Americans, are tired of multimillionaire activists from the entertainment industry slandering our heritage. Suggesting that everything we venerate about America is all wrong, and until some pie-in-the-sky social milestone is reached, American achievements in worldwide stability and social justice are meaningless.

I believe Kaepernick simply chose the wrong vehicle for his protest. He trampled on our Nation’s pride, our flag, and our musical tribute to our teammates who have given so much to us as a nation. His subject is important, but it takes a certain element of maturity to know how and when to promote it. 

“I’ll continue to sit,” he said. “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed…I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag of a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting away with murder…When there’s a significant change, and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

So Colin will be the arbiter of when America is Great Again?

Narcissists like Kaepernick are unable to distinguish between propriety and rudeness. When they want to be recognized, which is pretty much all of the time, they show no concern or understanding of propriety. They have no self-control, empathy, or understanding of other people’s feelings, institutions or convention. They show no courtesy. They demand acknowledgment before any other considerations. So hijacking a civic ceremony, a solemn demonstration of love of country is the perfect vehicle for distributing an angry message.

Hello Colin! Spend a couple of hours walking through the gravesites at Arlington National Cemetery, then lecture us on what the American flag represents. 

* * * 

Rick Elkin is a cultural and media observer, author and columnist. His most recent book, Trump’s Reckoning: Bulldozing Progressivism, Rebuilding Americanism, is widely available. He resides in Escondido, California. You can follow him at RickElkin.Com or on Twitter @Rick_Elkin.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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