Christine Brennan, long-serving scribe for USA Today has predictably landed in hot water with professional golfers following a piece she filed from Trump National.
Now, making the best effort to parse apart the situation, Brennan’s framing of remarks from Rocco Mediate and Donald Trump is drawing ire on two fronts.
One, the implicit criticism of the Champions Tour players in question for their support of the President, and their lack of willingness to talk about some of the more disreputable elements of the Trump narrative.
The other, construing a statement from 60-year-old Fred Funk as “sexist.” That angle has drawn criticism from Funk himself in a Morning Read column in which he labels the Brennan bit a “hatchet job.”
But first, the framing. Here’s what Brennan wrote about Rocco Mediate.
“He went on to praise Trump and his family and say he has had a few fans “tossed” from tournaments for criticizing him for wearing Trump’s name on his chest. So it seemed logical to ask him as a friend of Trump’s what he thought of the president’s comments that came to light during the campaign, including bragging about sexually assaulting women, mocking a disabled person and attacking a Gold Star family.”
It’s worth pointing out in this “fake news” era that nothing Brennan catalogued above is factually false. Everything she mentions was a part of the (real) news cycle during the election. The criticism many players have is that she’s dredging up the items in question now.
And in discussing Fred Funk’s Trump-related remarks, Brennan was a bit snide with this passage.
“He said he didn’t want to get into politics, then jumped right into politics with a strong defense of Trump’s policies on less regulation, smaller government, border protection, a bigger military and lower taxes.”
Implication: Players are more than happy to talk about the things they like about President Trump, but won’t take on thornier issues.
And then we have this item.
“Funk wasn’t in the interview room for five minutes when he uttered a sexist remark. He was joking about how he gets new fairway metals every birthday to keep up with lengthening golf courses and said, “I feel like I should be on the ladies tour right now.”’
Now, Brennan called the remark sexist, and went on to call it “blatantly sexist.” However, as a point of fact, golfers on the LPGA Tour do hit the ball shorter than men on professional tours…even the Champions Tour. Jumping down Funk’s throat for such a remark seems both unnecessary and half-baked. This is unfortunately how the whole article comes off, Brennan doesn’t do justice to the substance of her contentions with the form of her article.
Regardless, expect the fallout from “Senior PGA Players are Trump’s kind of crowd” to continue.