Thursday, May 23, 2013

How To Lose $16 Million With One Racist Phrase: The Sergio Garcia Edition

Athletes and endorsements go hand and hand. I mean, we have: LeBron James and Nike, RGIII and Adidas, and even Jimmy Johnson and Extenze (yes, that was an attempt at humor). These companies want to market their products by using the best of the best in various fields to make average Joes want to go out and buy their ridiculous overpriced products. However, the athletes also have an obligation to represent the company properly at all times by not acting like an uneducated imbecile. This is where PGA golfer Sergio Garcia screwed up…big time Tuesday night.

For those that are unaware, Sergio Garcia is a pretty well known 33 – year old golfer that has over 20 wins under his belt and at one time, was ranked second overall in the entire world. Forbes ranked him the sixth-highest paid golfer in the world, due in large part to his $16.2 million dollar endorsement with TaylorMade-Adidas. Garcia has a line of high-end equipment with Adidas that is always a top seller in the golf community.

Now, Garcia is probably more known for his feud/rivalry with one Eldrick “Tiger” Woods and that is where our story gets a little messy. Ever since their respective emergences as young phenoms in the late 90s, Garcia has always felt envious of the various successes of Tiger, according to multiple sources.  The two always have dust-ups every couple of years but on Tuesday night, Garcia went the extra mile in stupidity. When asked if he would consider having Woods over for dinner during the upcoming U.S. Open, Garcia remarked jokingly, “We will have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken”

* sigh *

Now, let me say a few things before I delve deeper…

For those that are still confused: Fried chicken has long been considered a stereotypical “poor black person’s food” (even though I have met very few of people of other races that dislike its immaculate, wonderful taste) so making that joke against Woods understandably caused a real stir.

Secondly, as a black man, I do not think that Garcia is racist. He made a joke that probably would have garnered a few cheap laughs in a closed door setting (I love fried chicken. I also have been known to make and gladly receive harmless “race” jokes from time to time).

Garcia’s issue is that he simply made a stupid decision… in public. Saying anything like that in a public setting is extremely, extremely stupid in the politically correct world we reside in. Part of being an athlete and enjoying that lifestyle’s various perks is knowing how to act in public. Now, Sergio has to pray that Adidas will decide to have his back in this matter.

Garcia has since apologized for the comment but Adidas has only said that they are disturbed by the matter and are currently reviewing it. I don’t personally think Garcia should lose his endorsements for a momentary lapse of judgment (its not like he advocated date rape like a certain former Reebok-endorsed rapper) but if a big company like Adidas feels like they need to distance themselves from Garcia and his controversy, they won’t think twice. I mean, they still have RGIII and the artist formerly known as D-Rose (as well as the NBA as a whole) to sell billions of dollars in merchandise. Trust me, they will not lose an ounce of sleep.

Sergio Garcia is just another example in a long line of athletes losing their minds in public and having millions of dollars in endorsements literally hanging in the balance.

Well, at least he’s finally gotten to Tiger Wood’s level in something… * rim shot * 


Aaron J. Coleman is currently a sport management major at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA minoring in Communication (with a focus in Public Relations). He was born and raised in Upper Marlboro, MD, a suburb outside of Washington, DC. He is currently a supervisor for Drexel’s Intramural Sports program and also an intern for the Arena Football Legaue’s Philadelphia Soul franchise. He covers the Chicago Bulls, New York Yankees, and Washington Redskins (his favorite squads along with the Washington Capitals and Drexel Dragons) for Follow Aaron on Twitter @shutupCole

1 comment:

  1. Still can't believe he said that. It always sucks when people do things to show that we aren't one hundred percent past racism. Really unfortunate. Surprised it prompted such a public response from Tiger too.