Both of these guys are past champions. Both have captured fans, fame, and hardware in their respective sports. In fact, these guys have been making history as kids and adults partly because of their fathers pushing and guiding them. In fact, the list of similarities of Tiger and Dale, Jr. are kinda spooky in a way, but very cool at the same time.
This piece is about the most visible and talked about (kinda) similarity, “the drought”. As you know, Jr. has been trying to ‘make it rain’ for 4-years now (6-15-08). Tiger was in the desert for Two years, 749 days, 26 official tournaments. We can’t argue the similarities, but I’m writing to point out one big difference.
The ongoing cycle of power, privilege and white male supremacy has/is influencing the way these stories/athletes are covered. As proof, try searching the dates of their last wins and see if you notice a difference. Again, it’s very disappointing and strong reminder of why we do POPS. You feel me?
Recently (Pocono) I was watching a story about Dale Earnhardt Jr. (and not the drought). The responses and reactions from the commentators, including past and present drivers/athletes, was positive, supporting and respectful. In fact, they empathized with Jr. (the drought) and made an importan link to the lost of his father, mentor, teacher and motivator. That’s completely understandable and just paints a very different picture. They showed genuine R-E-S-P-E-C-T for Jr. and what he has done/is doing for NASCAR! It was powerful and moving.
Now, contrast that to what we’ve heard (and still hear) about Tiger. The lack of empathy in the reports, coverage and commentary is frustrating. Tiger is not extended the same empathy as a professional golfer. This is not about excusing Tiger for cheating on his wife. Yes, he was very wrong. Yes, he committed adultery. Tiger Woods and all those things associated with his behavior were wrong, wrong, wrong. This is about R-E-S-P-E-C-T, not adultery. You feel me?
Hey, maybe Tiger deserved the negative coverage from TMZ and the New York Post. I’m not sure Tiger deserves forgiveness from some, but he at least deserves R-E-S-P-E-C-T from golf. This is a man who has taken the earnings of all golfers to an all-time high. He has expanded the fan base, including viewers and players. Let’s demand writers and commenters work to challenge the influence of power, privilege and whiteness. I’m just asking they give Tiger some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, just a little bit, for all he has done/is doing for GOLF.
The next time you’re reading/watching GOLF or NASCAR coverage, think about the similarities between Tiger and Jr. Additionally, ask yourself, have I noticed the one big difference? Is the a level of respect the same?
You be the judge.
You watch. You listen. And you let me know what you think.
Peace and Excellence,
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