Politicizing sports -- it’s not just for ESPN anymore! No longer seeing sports as a respite from politics, the New York Times has joined the game of pestering and trying to pin down athletes suspected of secret anti-Trump tendencies, while celebrating supporters of illegal immigrants and Black Lives Matter protests: "Of the 56 players polled, 50 -- or 89.3 percent -- said they would play golf with Trump if asked....The results were hardly surprising. The clubhouses at PGA Tour stops have long trended Republican, and the sport’s target demographic -- rich, mostly white men -- is far different from the women, minorities, immigrants and Muslims who have at times been the most offended by the president’s statements and positions."
Somewhere, former New York Times executive editor Howell Raines is smiling (or at least wearing a less-prominent scowl). The Augusta National Golf Club's surprise decision to admit two women as members made the front of Tuesday's paper: "Host to Masters Drops a Barrier With Its First 2 Female Members."
As executive editor, Raines caused controversy even among the liberal media in 2003 for his constant front-page crusade against the all-male membership policies of a private entity, The Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters golf tournament. Raines went so far as to spike columns by two of his own writers for taking issue with the paper's embarrassing editorial suggesting Tiger Woods boycott the Masters in the name of solidarity with women.
Golf writer Karen Crouse, the author of Tuesday's front-page piece, who had her own ideological fender-bender on the issue, wrote in typical overheated fashion:
Sorry, Masters golf tournament, you may be the most prestigious contest in the sport, but you don't meet the exacting standards of feminist activist/NYT golf writer Karen Crouse: "High-ranking players with daughters are not willing to talk about it. Somebody has to make a stand. Why not me in my own little way?”
The New York Times reporter is not done with her crusade against Augusta National. After excoriating the club's all-male membership policy in both a column and news story yesterday, the opening day of The Masters, Crouse told Golf.com's Damon Hack that she did not want to cover the tournament again until a woman was admitted to the club.
On the eve of Saturday’s Massachusetts state swim championship at M.I.T, the front of the New York Times sports page that morning was dominated by reporter Karen Crouse’s “Boys Swimming on Girls Teams Find Success, Then Draw Jeers." The prospect of boys and girls competing on the same team and in the same contests has suddenly become controversial at the Times. But why now?