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Jim Brown Criticizes Tiger Woods’ Social Activism

AFRO.com, News Report , AFRO Staff Posted: Jul 10, 2009

NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown recently made news headlines after publicly criticizing pro golf legend Tiger Woods, claiming the superstar athlete has failed to work for social change.

In a segment that aired on HBO's Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel last Tuesday, Brown expressed disappointment on how Woods is passionate about his golf skills, but doesn't appear as passionate about bringing positive change to society.

"You know what's so interesting about Tiger to me? He is a killer, he will run over you, he will kick your ass,” Brown said of Woods’s golf skills.

“But as an individual for social change? Terrible. Terrible. Because he can get away with teaching kids to play golf, and that's his contribution. In the real world, I can't teach kids to play golf and that's my contribution, if I've got that kind of power."

Tiger isn’t the only Black superstar athlete that Brown is disappointed in for what he believes is a lack of activism in society.

“There are one or two individuals in this country that are Black that have been put in front of us as an example,” said Brown on Woods and NBA legend Michel Jordan.

“But they're basically under a system that says, ‘Hey, they're not gonna do a certain thing.’ Yes, that disappoints me because I know they both know better.”

Brown has spent most of his retired years mentoring youths with history of engaging in gang warfare. He also never shied away from publicly voicing his opinion on social injustices, which maybe why he disagrees with how Jordan and Woods both choose to avoid controversial issues.

Brown had criticized Woods a year ago for not speaking out against racially insensitive comments made by Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman.

While covering the second round at the 2008 Mercendes-Benz Championship, Tilghman was discussing possible competitors to Woods when another golf analyst jokingly suggested the players gang up on Woods. Tilghman followed the suggestion by saying “Lynch him in a back alley,” in a joking manner.

Although she was immediately suspended from air for two weeks, Woods never took offense to her remarks. Instead, he accepted the apology she made and called it a “non issue.”

But that wasn’t enough to satisfy Brown.

“He should have come out right away. Instead he waited until it was politically correct.” Brown told the media last January. “The word ‘lynch’…there is no redeeming part of it. When you say lynch, you’re gonna have to pay the price. That is a very embarrassing word, a humiliating one, in the history of our country.”

But Woods believes he’s just as socially active as any other athlete, and chooses to let his actions do the speaking for him.

Woods hosted the AT&T National golf tournament at Congressional Country Club this past weekend with most of the tournament’s proceeds devoted to the Tiger Woods Foundation and its Learning Center. Woods‘foundation claims to have reached an estimated 10 million kids since its birth in 1996, including the awarding of several scholarships named after his father Earl Woods.

"I think I do a pretty good job as it is, what we're trying to do with the Foundation...how many kids we've helped; what we're trying to do not just here in the United States, but what my mom's doing in Thailand, all these different things that we've done," Woods said. "And you know, I want to do it right and not just do it, but do it right."

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