Opinion: Jack Nicklaus’ support of President Donald Trump disappointing but not surprising

At first blush, Jack Nicklaus’ full-throated Twitter endorsement of Donald Trump Wednesday night was not the least bit surprising. The headlines write themselves: Golf course developer endorses another golf course developer. Rich old white man from a rich old white guy sport endorses another rich old white man from the sport.

The reaction wasn’t surprising either. While plenty of Twitter accounts supported Nicklaus’ fawning treatise on Trump, many others did not. There was outrage. There was anger. And, worst of all for Nicklaus, there was genuine shock that a beloved role model could let down so many who had rooted for him for decades.

To see the replies, not from trolls and bots, but from real people expressing their dismay that Nicklaus would be such an over-the-top Trump supporter, leads one to wonder if Nicklaus perhaps never heard the words of Michael Jordan, who famously explained why he stayed out of politics by saying, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

Don’t Democrats play golf, too? And never-Trump Republicans? And independents? And women and girls?

Nicklaus is known in golf as its greatest player, a wonderful ambassador and perhaps its savviest businessperson. So for him to let his adoration for the controversial and unpopular Trump flow from one hefty paragraph to the next is a news item worthy of scrutiny just a few days before the completion of the 2020 Presidential election.

“In my opinion,” Nicklaus said, “(Trump) has been more diverse than any President I have seen and has tried to help people from all walks of life – equally.”

One could write a half dozen columns refuting that sentence alone, but let’s try to figure out why Nicklaus would say such a thing. The best way to put it probably is this: He’s a white male golfer who was born in 1940. He has lived his entire life in a sport that spent decades trying to keep women and Black people and other minorities out of the game, to its great detriment.

Golf’s leaders now are admirably scrambling to find new participants and new consumers in a race against time with their aging white male demographics. That’s why Augusta National Golf Club – the home of the Masters, whose membership discriminated against women until 2012 – started a skills competition for boys and girls in 2013 and a women’s amateur tournament last year.

Those worthwhile efforts took a hit Wednesday night when the game’s most iconic figure (or second-most iconic to Tiger Woods, take your pick) endorsed a president who has consistently and reprehensibly denigrated women and people of color, who has been accused of sexually assaulting or sexually harassing at least 26 women, who has waged war on Black athletes who speak out about injustice and who has called white nationalists “very fine people,” among many other awful comments.

Why would Nicklaus take such a stance

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By: Christine Brennan
Title: Opinion: Jack Nicklaus' support of President Donald Trump disappointing but not surprising
Sourced From: golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/10/30/opinion-jack-nicklaus-donald-trump-disappointing-support/
Published Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2020 12:00:04 +0000

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