OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. — There was not a lot of talk publicly from players — including Tiger Woods — about possibly skipping the first round of the BMW Championship on Thursday, potentially joining others in the sports world who are not playing games this week as a form of protest of racial injustice.
But Cameron Champ showed how he felt about the issues affecting the country in a different way.
Champ had the word “equality” written on the right side on his Nike hat and wore a black Nike shoe on his left foot and a white Nike shoe on his right with the words “Papa Champ, Black Lives Matter and Breonna Taylor” during his round.
Papa Champ is Cameron’s grandfather and is responsible for teaching him to play golf.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was fatally shot when police officers burst into her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment using a no-knock warrant during a narcotics investigation in March. The warrant was in connection with a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found.
“For my grandfather, if anyone knows my story, he grew up in the South, Jim Crow, all those eras through the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and obviously Breonna Taylor, which is another ongoing issue,” Champ said. “For me again that’s kind of where I stand with this. I just want to show my love and support.”
The sports world has come together after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times by police on Sunday. Blake was shot as he attempted to enter the driver’s side door of his vehicle with three of his children inside. Video of the shooting was distributed on social media.
Games in the NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS and the WNBA have since been postponed, as players have protested racial injustice.
“I understood the magnitude of what the NBA was doing and what they were boycotting for, and I know the PGA Tour is in full support of that, and again, it’s a conversation that’s uncomfortable, sensitive for our country, but if we’re not willing to have those, I don’t think we can move forward as a country,” said Tony Finau, who is of Tongan and Samoan descent and has talked in the past about facing discrimination because of his skin color. “I’m open to having a conversation with anybody on the issue, and again, I think we’re in full support of what the NBA has done.”
Champ acknowledged that he thought about not playing Thursday. He ended up shooting a 7-over 77 in the first round.
“I definitely thought about it for sure, but obviously I feel like I can do a lot more playing, and again, showing my support and expressing myself, and I think that’s great for the NBA,” he said. “I mean, all the guys sticking together, which again, the NBA is — I don’t know the exact numbers, but it’s probably around 90 percent are African Americans, so that’s their whole organization. So just to see them come together and talk about it and obviously they ended up they’re going to continue the season, but just to boycott their last few games, again, I think that’s a huge step in all of sports.”
The PGA Tour released a statement Thursday “to express our outrage at the injustice that remains prevalent in our country.”
Woods, who closed out his 3-over 73 with three straight bogeys, was asked if he thought about skipping his round Thursday.
“No, I talked to the commissioner and they were on board,” he said. “Obviously he released his statement, and all the guys were on board. So no, obviously there was talk about it because of obviously what happened, but we’re all on board, on the same page.”
Woods was previously asked about Black Lives Matter and his reaction to the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis in May.
“I think change is fantastic,” Woods said July 14, before playing in The Memorial. “As long as we make changes without hurting the innocent, and unfortunately that has happened, hopefully it doesn’t happen in the future, but a movement and change is fantastic. That’s how society develops. That’s how we grow. That’s how we move forward. That’s how we have fairness. Unfortunately we’ve lost innocent lives along the way, and hopefully we don’t lose any more in the future as we move to a much better place socially.”