PGA Tour issues statement amid professional athletes' protests over racial injustice and police brutality
The PGA Tour issued a statement Thursday morning as professional athletes in several sports protested against racial injustice and police brutality.
The statement comes a day after NBA players sat out playoff games in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday. Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in Kenosha, Wis., as he attempted to enter a vehicle with his children in the car. Three MLB games were also called Wednesday, with athletes from the MLS, WNBA and professional tennis deciding not to play in their respective contests in protest.
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“The MLB, MLS, NBA, WNBA and WTA protests are player-led, peaceful, powerful ways to use their respective platforms to bring about the urgent need for change in our country,” read a statement from the tour. “There have been a number of efforts in the past to send a message that the current climate is unacceptable, and these teams, leagues and players now taking this step will help draw further attention to the issues that really matter. The PGA Tour supports them—and any of our own members—standing up for issues they believe in.”
Cameron Champ, one of the tour’s four players with Black heritage, issued his own statement through the PGA Tour Wednesday evening, and has been wearing shoes with “Jacob Blake” and “BLM” messages. “People ignore it for so long. And then it gets to a point where it just blows up,” Champ said. “This is just the tipping of the iceberg. Change needs to happen. I feel like it’s going in the right direction, but again, with all the stuff that’s going on, it has to end.”
The PGA Tour pledged earlier this summer to be part of the solution, stating it is actively working to make “deeper and more specific commitments to racial equity and inclusion in the communities where we play, as well as supporting national organizations within this movement that we had not previously engaged with.”
“However, we understand that now is not the appropriate time to highlight our programs and policies, but rather to express our outrage at the injustice that remains prevalent in our country,” read the tour’s statement. “Sports have always had the power to inspire and unify, and we remain hopeful that together, we will achieve change.”
The tour’s BMW Championship remains scheduled to begin Thursday morning at Olympia Fields in the suburbs of Chicago.