A sportswriter who had already suggested that the NFL eliminate the playing of the national anthem before each game is now suggesting that The Masters golf tournament change its name because “in the current climate, with all the sweeping changes, it’s only right and just.”
Rob Parker has made controversial statements before, such as asking in 2012 whether former Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who is black, was “a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” and adding, “I keep hearing these things. We all know he has a white fiancée. There was all this talk about he’s a Republican.”
Prior to that, in 2007 Parker called Hank Aaron a coward for declining to attend when Barry Bonds broke his record for most lifetime home runs. Parker wrote:
Hank Aaron is a coward. He’s taking a stance but not saying what it is. There’s no other way to look at it. Aaron, the home run king, is playing a neutral role in the biggest sports debate since whether hits king Pete Rose deserved to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s clear Barry Bonds will supplant Aaron as the king of the long ball. Bonds is 18 home runs away from No. 756, one better than Aaron. Still, Aaron says he will not be there when he drops to No. 2.
Why? Who knows. Or more like, we all know.It comes down to accusations Bonds used steroids, even though the slugger hasn’t been found guilty. What’s Aaron’s problem?Well, he needs to take a stand — either denounce Bonds’ attempt because he’s been implicated in the steroids scandal, or embrace Bonds’ accomplishment and show up.
On Monday, Parker wrote about The Masters,which has the smallest field of the major championships, with 90–100 players, asserting, “The name ‘The Masters’ must go. The heralded golf tournament, one of the four majors, needs to go back to its original name — the Augusta National Invitational. It became the Masters in 1939.”
He continued, “Tiger Woods, other big-time golfers and corporate sponsorships should demand it. In the current climate, with all the sweeping changes, it’s only right and just. Best of all, in this case, it’s a simple and smooth fix. The Masters never felt good or even sounded good when you said it … When you hear anyone say the Masters, you think of slave masters in the South. There’s nothing else, nothing special. You don’t think of someone mastering the game of golf. When has anyone mastered golf?”
After noting that “Augusta National admitted no African American members until 1990 and no women members until 2012” and the “club long required all caddies to be black and banned black golfers from the Masters Tournament until Lee Elder participated in 1975,” Parker wrote, “Even at dictionary.com, one of the definitions you get for ‘master’ is ‘owner of a slave.”’