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'Tiger Woods is irrelevant to Black Lives Matter' | Civil rights activist Dr Harry Edwards

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

19:10 1 Sep 2020

Tiger Woods is 'irrelevant' to the Black Lives Matter movement, according to civil rights activist Dr Harry Edward, in a withering response to the idea that Woods might be someone that could add a powerful voice to the cause.

Edwards, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at University of California, Berkeley, joined Off The Ball on Tuesday for an in-depth look into American sport's response to the ongoing protests in the United States.

"I've talked to him in the past. I have talked to Tiger in the past and I haven't heard anything from him. I am not looking at anything from him," Edwards said.

"As far as I am concerned, with this movement he is irrelevant. I think that we should just move on.

"I mean, there is nothing there that is going to have an impact. Nothing that he could say would be believable, nothing that he could do would be creditable, nothing that he could contribute would be worth very much.

"In point of fact, nobody expects anything. So at this late date, who cares?

"I haven't heard anything from him, I am not looking to hear anything from him and I don't know anybody else who is.

"He is irrelevant."

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods' desire to not get involved in matters outside of golf is one reason to presume Edwards would prefer his silence to continue. It would appear that there is some enmity towards him from sections of the black sporting community, particularly in accepting honours from President Donald Trump.

While each sportsperson is well within their rights to comment or not on issues of social concern, Edwards believes that the Black Lives Matter movement has a momentum scarcely seen in American social history - as he explained.

"You have a social justice movement which is the largest in American history. It has enveloped everything, including sports. It is sitting right in their locker room, in their facilities, in their stadiums.

"Then you have probably the most consequential presidential election in this country since 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected. The choices are that stark.

"So all of that is now weighing down on these athletic enterprises, especially those where an overwhelming majority - 70-80% - that they put on the court or the field are black.

"It is weighing down on [enterprise owners] because they know that they cannot separate out those athletes upon whom they are dependent for the sports product from the circumstances that those athletes are awakened to, and which they share."

Le Bron James

"LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and all of these great talents know that the only reason it was George Floyd that a cop was leaning on his knee instead of them, was that they were not there.

"So they are very much involved in this in a deeply personal because of their own personal interests, because of the interests of their families [...] any one of whom could end up like Rayshard Brooks, or Jacob Blake, or Breanna Taylor.

"They are aware of that, so these coaches and owners who are overwhelmingly white and who are facing this boycott have to figure out a way to get on the same page as their players.

"They are the foundation of this entire enterprise. Nobody is going to come to watch the owners play basketball in the NBA, nobody is going to come to watch the owners play baseball in the MLB, or in soccer or football.

"So they have to figure out a way for the first time in their ownership: how do we get on the same page with, be supportive of, or get out in front of our athletes in these complicated and complex times."

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