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Fallout from Golf Channel Tiger Woods Comment Continues

The Golf Channel's two-week suspension of Kelly Tilghman, the first full-time female golf play-by-play commentator, continues to draw reactions from around the sports world.

Tilghman was suspended after a broadcast in which she said other players should take Tiger Woods into an alley and lynch him.

While she was attempting to express the oft-cited sentiment that Woods was too good to be beaten on the course, her insensitivity -- and that of others -- to the historical significance of lynching to African Americans, coupled by Golfweek magazine's decision to advertise the comment in a Jan. 19 cover story about Woods that used a noose on its cover, prompted the two-week suspension and apology from the channel (Golfweek's editor was also fired).

"There is simply no place on our network for offensive language like this," the channel said in announcing the suspension Jan. 9. "While we believe Kelly's choice of words were inadvertent and that she did not intend them in an offensive manner, the words were hurtful and grossly inappropriate."

In the Washington Post Sunday, sports writer Michael Wilbon, who is African American, said that while Tilghman's apology should have come immediately, so should The Golf Channel's apology, which might have prevented the need for a suspension.

Wilbon, who conceded that Tilghman was a friend, said he thought the reaction to the comment was "overly dramatic," but he added that they were regrettable and hurtful. He also suggested that more black producers in decision-making postitions in TV sports and magazines might challenge such comments or decisions before they become a finished product.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.