Written by Jimmy Bradshaw | Contributing Writer, CLICKON
Bubba Watson, the number three ranked golfer in the world and owner of one of the official General Lee cars, will paint over the Confederate flag that sits atop the vehicle. Is the move a sign that golf is changing its political stance that has alienated Generation Y and caused a lack of young people to take up the game?
Last night, Watson tweeted his plans to remove the Confederate flag following the June 17 shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, where Dylann Roof walked into the building and shot dead nine African-Americans .
The Confederate flag became the subject of controversy after photos surfaced the web of Roof posing with it. While the majority of Americans say the rebel flag is a symbol of pride, not racism, there is stark racial divide on how the banner is perceived and what should be done about references to the Confederacy.
In recent days, the flag has been taken down in notable places. TV Land pulled re-runs of “Dukes of Hazzard” while Dayton International Speedway issued a statement asking fans not to display the Confederate flag at racetracks.
With Watson being the latest high-profile figure to remove the flag, it creates a renewed sense of optimism that golf – like NASCAR – is taking a step in the right direction.
The PGA TOUR and LPGA TOUR – some of the most conservative men and women in sport – have often resisted from changing old-school ways of thinking. In fact, Bubba Watson himself has made controversial statements about his feelings towards homosexuals, saying it was “a sin” to be gay.
A 2013 poll revealed conservatives were more offended by the rainbow flag than the Confederate flag.
It would seem surprising therefore that Watson remove the Confederate flag. Is he getting with the times? Is golf finally making in roads to a more liberal standpoint? Unlikely at the moment, judging by its reluctance to condemn Donald Trump’s recent racist markets, but maybe it just took its first baby steps towards a better future.