Should Pro Golfers Boycott The Masters Over Voters’ Rights? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
One sports league put Georgia on notice that holding major events in their state has become more difficult now that new voting regulations have been signed into law. Now, however, the golf world is front and center as The Masters is scheduled to take place, with many demanding the tournament also be moved or that participants boycott the event. With athletes willingly or unwillingly now at the center of this debate, should golfers skip The Masters to serve a bigger purpose, should the event be moved or canceled this year in direct reaction to the laws that were passed, or did one sports league just make it impossible for others to do business in Georgia?
Major League Baseball threw the sports world a curveball Friday by announcing it was removing its All-Star Game and Draft from Atlanta, Georgia after a controversial set of voting laws were passed. Athletes in many sports, including the NBA, who held their All-Star Game there in early March, spoke out against the new laws that claim to be designed to limit voter fraud, but others view as voter suppression, especially in minority communities.
While MLB’s move was called a “knee jerk” decision by those who opposed what they did, baseball needed to act quickly after the new laws were signed in late March … their decision was based as much as what they felt was right as it was doing what was best for the sport. That’s because with barely three months to set up everything involved in putting on an All-Star Game and holding its amateur draft, the more time they had to do so, the better; leading to their swift decision to move the events.
The Masters normally holds two distinctions in golf: is it normally the first of the year’s four major tournaments, and it is the only one played on the same golf course every year.
Those two facts alone would make moving the event difficult for many reasons, and when you add in the short notice of trying to find another course to hold a major championship, moving this year’s Masters to another venue seems highly unlikely at best. When you take into account that last year’s event was postponed to the fall because of the Covid-19 pandemic, seeing this year’s event canceled or pushed back for a second straight year seems equally unlikely to occur. That, rightly or wrongly, gives those playing in the event a difficult choice, to tee off Thursday, or stay home.
MLB Commissioner, correctly, consulted with the Players’ Association before moving the All-Star Game out of Atlanta, a move that the franchise set to play host for noted wasn’t their decision. Golfers, however, are independent contractors who show up at most events without the need for much more than a set of clubs. This put the decision to boycott or show up at The Masters for anyone who has earned their way to the event squarely on their shoulders, or in the case of golfers, in the hands of those who sponsor them, making this year’s event a very tricky one to navigate.
With major corporations like Atlanta-based Coca-Cola speaking out against the new voting regulations, how golfers, who make most of their money away from the links once they find success on them, handle this issue will be telling. Many golfers over the years have played-for-pay in tournaments held in countries that suppress women’s rights or the rights of other groups, because the hosts were willing to right a big enough check for them to appear and legitimize their event. With the spotlight of sports and society shining brightly on Georgia now, the ability to avoid the social issues surrounding this event will not be possible for anyone at this year’s Masters. Likewise, those who sponsor those golfers who do show up may be subject to their own boycotts by consumers who are looking to make a bigger point and draw attention to all those who support Georgia’s economy, even indirectly by showing up for a golf tournament.
In the end, however, pro golfers should do what any of us should do in this situation, follow their heart and do what they believe is right. Yes, they need to take into account what may happen following their decision, with those who were once fans of theirs turning against them if they show up, and perhaps losing a sponsorship or two if they don’t show up for one of golf’s four biggest weekends of the year. All that means is they face a choice, just as those who voted for and against the new laws in Georgia did in March.
Should pro golfers boycott The Masters if it is not moved this week?
They should at least give it serious consideration and publicly voice their concerns to let those of power know that if given more time the outcry to make a chance would be louder. Then, maybe by next year, those who can do something will, such as hold a voter registration drive on the ground for those who wish to vote in next November’s midterm elections, giving voice to those who didn’t have a say in the in laws being passed this week in the state of Georgia.
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Should Pro Golfers Boycott The Masters Over Voters’ Rights? | TooAthletic.c0m
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