To the Editor:
Regarding the article by Caroline Nathan ’04 (“It’s time for Woods to take a stand”), in Tuesday’s sports section, I have one comment: The world is not as sexist as head of the National Organization for Women, Martha Burk, would lead people to believe. Yes, Augusta National Golf Club has a sexist policy that excludes women from being members. Yes, Tiger Woods will play in the annual Masters tournament this year, regardless of this fact. And yes, this is not as terrible a thing as women like Burk make it out to be. Not only would a scenario where Tiger withdrew from the Masters not accomplish anything, but all of Martha Burk’s rallying to include women as members at Augusta is only hurting the cause.
As a student at Stanford University, Tiger was often ridiculed while playing in tournaments held at elite racist clubs down in the South. Instead of boycotting these tournaments, Tiger chose to dominate the competition in them and did far more to silence racist voices than he would have had he not played at all. While a decisive win at the Masters won’t do much to further the status of women at the club, if Tiger sits out he’ll do nothing to further the cause as many women who play at Augusta as guests have expressed annoyance at Burk’s rallying.
Muhammad Ali is an example of a great athlete who used his influence from sports to fight for causes he believed in. Ali will be remembered almost as much for his social activism as he will be for the grace and fire he brought to the ring; but is there anything wrong with Tiger just wanting to be remembered for his golf? What Tiger realizes is that there will always be social battles to be fought and sides wanting his support. But contrary to what Nathan wrote, that a win by Tiger would be overshadowed by this controversy, I guarantee that no amount of Martha Burk’s in this world will be able to overshadow such an amazing competitor as Tiger, because his fans are far more interested in watching Woods defy the odds on an amazing course than they are in watching him sit on the sidelines, tangled in controversy.
Vanessa Mazandi ’05
November 20, 2002