Blog Entry

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

Posted on: November 7, 2011 11:12 am
Edited on: November 7, 2011 11:47 am

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Steve Williams was in his comfort zone.

Speaking before members of his fraternity, clearly comfortable that he was among friends, self-assured that he had nothing but allies lending a sympathetic ear.

Sound familiar?

No, we’re not talking about the now-infamous caddie awards banquet on Friday night in China, where Williams offered a racial slur about former boss Tiger Woods that has since become the biggest topic in global golf.

Nope, we’re referencing a radio interview that Williams did with New Zealand talk-shot host Murray Deaker shortly before Sunday’s final round of the World Golf Championships mega-money HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

Deaker freely professed to being Williams’ “mate” during the broadcast on influential Newstalk ZB in Auckland, and went out of his way to give his countryman every chance to explain away his comments at the raucous caddie dinner, where Williams received an award and used the term “black arse----” in reference to part of Woods’ anatomy.

Despite offering an apology on his website the day after his Woods quote came to light in several international publications, Williams seemed anything but contrite in the radio interview. At ease and clearly comfortable while speaking to a familiar audience in New Zealand’s most populated city, Williams was downright dismissive of the reaction his comments have caused.

Deaker began the interview by offering an olive branch, if not a get-out-of-jail-free card, to Williams by excusing the comments since they were uttered at a caddie function where hilarity was the order of the day.

Said Deaker: “I wonder if we understand the environment where the Steve Williams comments were passed. It was a caddies’ function …. I think a caddies' function would be somewhat different, than suddenly what you have to say there appearing, stark, in newspapers around the world, and front pages at that.”

Williams, speaking from Shanghai, attempted to set the context of the scene in a posh Shanghai hotel, where his verbal bomb went off.

“It’s an annual thing they have at the HSBC championship here in Shanghai, an annual caddie awards ceremony,” Williams said by phone. “It’s strictly for caddies only. Of course, some of the media invite themselves along. It’s kind of like a locker-room environment, everyone was having a good time. My comments were by no means the worst comments that were passed – there was a lot of profanity and other kinds of remarks.

“Just because I make a remark regarding my former employee (sic), it gets blown way out of proportion. You know, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”

Deaker cited a report in a prominent U.K. paper, the Daily Mail, which stated that several jaws dropped in the banquet room when Williams offered the slur. Williams said quite the opposite was true.

“No,” Williams said. “It’s incredible when you are actually there and at something, and you can even perceive that when you watch a game of rugby and are there and watch it and you read in the paper the difference of opinion between you watching and a reporter viewing it.

“It’s the same thing. It was a fun sort of thing and everyone laughed their heads off. So what you read is absolutely ridiculous.”

Everyone laughed their heads off? Interestingly, a couple of caddies wasted no time in communicating their thoughts about Williams to scribes staying in Shanghai, though few spoke for attribution.

Deaker, clearly intent on helping Williams clean up his mess, suggested that stories quoting anonymous caddies had been completely fabricated by the print media. One caddie who was not identified was quoted in a story as saying of Williams, “We knew he was an idiot, but we didn’t know he was a racist idiot.”

“Murray, you make one comment like that in a room having a bit of fun, how does that make you a racist?” Williams said. “We live in a country that is multi-cultural society and we owe a hell of a lot of our ancestry and tradition and culture in New Zealand to a lot of the Polynesian communities and that. I don’t think you can say anyone in New Zealand is a racist.

“We live in the Maori culture, which is a great culture, along with a lot of island people. New Zealanders in no way, I don’t think any New Zealander, is racist. That’s so far off beat it’s a joke.”

Speaking of jokes, that’s what Williams says his crack about Woods was intended to be. He said defensively that other humor of the night and said he had no idea that he had stepped on his tongue publicly yet again.

“I wasn’t the first person up on stage and having listened to some of the profanity that was used and coming from some of the players that were in attendance as well, and then listening to the HSCB spokesperson who got up and made a speech, and listened to some of his comments that were very funny but way worse than mine -- no one mentioned anything about what he had to say.

“I didn’t give it one thought, to be honest with you.”

Well, certainly not beforehand, anyway. Sort of makes his apology ring hollow, no?

Given the banquet’s rowdy nature, Deaker asked why this had happened to Williams.

“I think, obviously, having worked for my former employee (sic), anything that’s linked to him – and of course I worked for him for a substantial amount of time – any sort of controversy that somebody can make up, I think that’s the sort they love to do.

“Like I said, it is absolutely making a mountain hill out of a mole hole. I am not worried about it one bit.”

Sounds like he’s really learned a lesson, huh?

The PGA and European tours on Sunday jointly declined to sanction Williams over his comments, though it's within their purview to do so. Williams' new boss, Adam Scott, reiterated Sunday that he will not bench Williams and the pair are set to team up at three big events in Scott's native Australia over the next month, including the Australian Open and Presidents Cup matches over the next two weeks.

Category: Golf

Since: Nov 26, 2009
Posted on: November 8, 2011 4:03 pm

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

Oh and one other point that I want to have explained by the PGA Tour and its members. I keep hearing that this event is meant to be closed to the outside where the things you say are kept in the room and confidential. Is this to say that racist, homphobic, sexist, anything goes type comments are accepted by this group behind closed doors and even found to be funny? Are these "jokes" accepted as commonplace? If so, WOW! Makes me wonder what I've been a fan of all these years. Explanation please........

Since: Mar 17, 2010
Posted on: November 8, 2011 3:49 pm

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

What do you expect?  He has pride and Tiger treated him like a bag of dirt. His REAL problem, he just proved he is a bag of dirt.  LOSER!!! So Stevie, the man from NZ, GO HOME and Stay there. Hopefully they will kick you out of your own country. You don't deserve to live around such good people.  YOU THINK YOU ARE BETTER THAN ADAM SCOTT.   You just hurt his image with your ego maniac actions.  YOU are a bag of dirt.

Since: Jan 10, 2010
Posted on: November 8, 2011 1:07 pm

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

@wells251981 - Oriental is a type of rug...I think you meant Asian.

Since: Nov 26, 2009
Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:31 pm

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

To those of you who think this is a non-issue, you're wrong, sorry but you are.  Answer this question for me: Why did Steve Williams feel the need to distinguish the color of his target? He could've made the exact same point leaving that distinction of Tigers color out. I do not feel that Steve Williams is a racist, but his comment was. Heat of the moment more than likely. I liken it to when you are arguing with your spouse and you're very mad, the spouse does/says something that hurts deeply and your first reaction is to lash out and call them something that under normal circumstances you wouldn't say. You just want to go at them and hurt them back as quickly and deeply as possible.

With that being said, this doesn't excuse Steve Williams from what he said. Especially now in light of his comments on the radio after his hollow apology. If any working stiff said the same thing in their workplace there would be repercussions to deal with other than a symbolic slap on the wrist. Actually they didn't even slap his wrist, they gave him a dirty look to appease the masses and went about business as usual.

To me this is just as much about the ethics or lack thereof of the PGA Tour as it is Steve Williams poor choice of words. When an employee or member of your association goes out of their way to purposely make another employee/member/fan/cu
stomer feel uncomfortable and possibly violated then it is up to that governing body to defuse that situation by delivering swift and proper punishment. The fact that everybody who could've done something about this, did nothing, shows me that there is acceptance out there for this behavior within the PGA Tour. I would even venture to say that Tiger probably would have a case against the PGA Tour for violations against him in the workplace. Any one of you out there, take your feelings about Tiger out of the equation, imagine yourself in a similar situation where your boss does nothing to secure your rights as an employee and actually sends you right back to continue having to work in and around the person who you have legitimate complaints about. Doesn't make for a great work environment, does it? Now do it with millions and millions of people watching.

Steve Williams needs to be suspended. Period. Does anyone out there truly believe that had Tiger been white like him he would have said, "shove it up his white a---hole....."? Personally, I doubt it. Come on PGA Tour and do the right thing. You can't allow this to happen and then hope to grow your game within the black community or any other minority community. If this blows up in the face of the PGA Tour they'll have nobody to blame but themselves. It's too late to say sorry later when you had the chance to make it right at the moment it happened, it publically seems reactionary and self preserving instead of real.

Since: Dec 30, 2007
Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:07 pm

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

Vito, it seems a little known fact about the establishment of this country
that the 3/5ths person you refer to was a compromise with the slave states
who actually wanted their slaves counted fully so they'd have greater say
in congress which is allocated by population.  It is ignorant to think
that this was a dis of the blacks, but in fact an attempt to get by what
was then an intractible issue that might have gotten in the way of
forming the nation that eventually fought to set the slaves free and
to grant them the same God given rights that this country was founded on.

Since: Oct 25, 2008
Posted on: November 8, 2011 12:00 pm

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

I guess when Tiger cans you for some Lame reason , your going to get some backlash. He gave Stevie the Green light to Caddie for Adam Scott. Tiger is the one that started this by being Ho Dog and causing him all the trouble. What is Stevie suppose to do, wait for Tiger to pull his head out of his butt? Tiger has sucked on the golf course, guys I never heard of beat him all the time so Stevie goes out to make some money while Tiger is rehabbing his knee. With Tiger's Permission and then fires him for it... Tiger deserved to get the Slur. Don't you all see a pattern with Tigger ? One bad move after another from Tiger... Jack N. your record is safe bro..

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: November 8, 2011 11:32 am

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

Blacks in this country learned violence from their white slave masters who beat them when they were not happy with them.
I'm not sure I've read a more stupid or more racist comment in a very long time, Vito.

Are you saying that all blacks are violent? Are you claiming that some sort of conditioning from 200 years ago MUST impact behavior 10 generations later? Are you saying all white people are "slave masters"? 

The "facts" are that a LOT of white people have worked hand in hand with blacks to reduce bigotry of all kinds in the USA, and over the last 50 years in particular great strides have been made. What a surprise that the "slave masters" would have such generous attitudes, huh? 


Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:39 am

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

Jerry Rice in an interview with Steve Young said that Steve Young was fast ''for a WHITE boy", and they laughed it off....hmmmmmm

Blacks have been given enough double standard when it comes to this...I don't need a black guy to tell me what is racist, since they use the supposed evil 'n' word all the time....Ask 95% blacks if they've called people the 'n' word, and they would have to say YES...

The media is such a joke, that it is just looking for a story....Heres a clue------EVERYONE makes fun of everyone else....

Since: Sep 7, 2006
Posted on: November 8, 2011 10:15 am

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

He's an idiot not a racist.  I agree with the guy a few posts back.  The amount of fallacious comments that stories like this generate are astounding.  If you want to brand the comment as racist OK, but this story goes no further than that.  This is not an issue that's reflective of any societal trends.  Anything else is just a Strawman for people that want to ramble.

Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:41 am

Williams explains slur to Kiwis, makes it worse

"somewhat" valid points, that racism is racsim in any form...but the point that Vito is making (his own rage aside) is also valid in that until the proverbial car in his analogy catches-up and is truly back on equal footing, your claim is nearly impossible to enforce even though in raw principle correct, when one has been opressed for so long by the same opressor.

Some (not this poster) may deem that job and school quotas used by some institutions/organizations to be unfair/reverse, in not choosing simply the "best" person, -- but whether you think right or wrong, it is doing what it can do to bring things back in line, -- as years ago, many Americans could not vote, play sports, etc., but they could die for their country ??  Something is inherently wrong with that, and whilst I think the country is on the right track wrt racial/sex equality, it still has a ways to go. 

I believe Tiger that he thinks that Stevie is not a racist, but when you label someone vs simply saying "I wanted to shove it up that guys xxxx", you instantly are "labeling" them, and it starts all over again.

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