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Jim Brown's problem with Tiger (and the others he mentioned), isn't about how much money he gives to charities, per se. It's about him not taking political/social risks as an African-American. I think this is really a generational issue, more than anything else.
Earl Woods certainly knew racial prejudice. His undergrad degree was in Sociology from Kansas State in the early 1950's. Rather than accept a professional baseball contract, he joined the Army. The Army has long been a couple of decades ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to racial equality. He was able to become a Green Beret. He worked as a professor and also worked a lot in Asia. It seems he worked to find places in life where he would not feel like an oppressed minority. My guess is Earl Woods was a "bootstrap" guy, a "personal responsibility" kind of guy, fairly conservative, politically, and he passed this to Tiger. I doubt Tiger was allowed to even harbor the thought that life was more difficult for him because of his mixed race. Tiger's charities run toward kids (of all races) and disabled folks, disabled vets in particular. It's possible that he feels somewhat more ambivalent (from his point of view) about able-bodied adults who shoot each other or abuse drugs. My guess is that he looks at his dad and sees these problems more as personal ones for which personal responsibility should be taken. Jim Brown, coming from the 50's and 60's, says Tiger isn't talking enough about The Problem. Tiger, coming from the 90's and 00's, Stanford grad, near-billionaire, and Barack Obama as his President, says what's the problem.
Is Tiger Woods a good role model? By all reports, he is devoted to his wife and children. He works tirelessly at his profession to try to be the best at what he does. He is polite and respectful of others and his elders in particular, and always pays homage to those who cut the path before him. He has studied hard and is a well-educated man. He gives freely to charities and to help those in need. He's never been caught up in any scandal or illegal activity, and I for one can't imagine that ever happening. I happen to think that's pretty good.
But Jim Brown says no, he's not speaking out enough about inner-city crime and poverty. Maybe not, but at least he's not PROMOTING it. He's not a fixture in night clubs frequented by gangsters, doesn't run around with loaded handguns in his sweat pants, doesn't run with people who put on dog fights, doesn't insist on getting "hoodalized" when he gets to your city, went to school before turning pro, doesn't know anyone who murdered anyone else, and doesn't celebrate the accomplishments of those who do. Good for him, and may my son be just like Tiger Woods.
posted by miked at 11:21 AM on July 07
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