Ethics Quiz: Tiger’s Sexist, Juvenile Gag

Once again, we enter the weird realm of offensive or arguably offensive jokes that become public through accident, eavesdropping or betrayal. In such cases, the audience most certain to be offended by the joke learns of it despite the intent of the jokester.

The all-time champion in this category was Nixon/Ford Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz. At the 1976  Republican National Convention (which nominated President Ford, ultimately defeated by Jimmy Carter), Pat Boone asked Butz, then in a three-way conversation with Boone and John Dean, why the party of Abraham Lincoln couldn’t attract the support of more blacks. Butz, who may have been drunk, answered, “Because coloreds only want three things. You know what they want? I’ll tell you what coloreds want. It’s three things: first, a tight pussy; second, loose shoes; and third, a warm place to shit. That’s all!”

As Otter told Flounder, Butz had “fucked up.” He trusted John Dean, who was at the convention as a reporter for “Rolling Stone.” Dean repeated the joke in his published story, and  the uproar forced Butz to resign.

The Tiger Woods incident isn’t anywhere near as bad as the Butz episode, but it raised some of the same issues.During the first round of tlat week’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 16, 2023, in Pacific Palisades, California, Woods out-drove friend and competitor Justin Thomas. As they walked way from the tee, Woods surreptitiously (he thought) handed Thomas a tampon, a hoary guy-gag meaning “You play like a girl.” But cameras caught the exchange (above), and though Thomas appeared to be amused, others were not. Veteran female sportswriter Christine Brennan’s reaction was typical, as she wrote in part,

I’m guessing most of the millions of fathers and mothers who support their athletic daughters probably have long since retired all their juvenile pranks that were intended to demean the ability of those girls they love and for whom they spend so much time cheering. 

But not our Tiger. 

No, he employed basic misogyny to insult his good friend Thomas, a knee-slapper of a dig against female athletes: You hit the ball like a girl!…

[W]hen the biggest name in the sport’s history is giddily spreading misogyny down the fairway, it might just confirm a woman’s suspicions about golf and send her to any one of the scores of other sports she can play for the rest of her life without running into a dude playing a juvenile tampon joke.

Woods sort of apologized…

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

From 0 to 10, how much anger, outrage, and societal opprobrium does Woods deserve for his stunt?

21 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Tiger’s Sexist, Juvenile Gag

  1. Zero. Don’t people have more important things to be concerned about than being outraged by a joke between fellow competitors? In my opinion, these offended people need to find something more productive to do with their lives. Aren’t people generally tired of all these people that are being offended by almost everything?

  2. Having professionally dealt with a fair number of them, I strongly suspect that the vast majority of successful professional athletes are emotionally cathected in their mid-teens. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have had the drive to become good enough to become successful pros. You can pick the sport. Football, baseball, hockey… Women’s World Cup Soccer… golf. These people are BRILLIANTLY talented. But they are not normal.

    Was this a stupid and juvenile joke? Yeah, to most of us. Did it play well amongst the 30+-year old teenagers involved? Would be surprised if it didn’t.

    Answer to the quiz: 0. Only people who a) know nothing of professional sports and b) are looking for reasons to be offended will be… offended.

  3. I confess I didn’t understand the… erm… joke until now. Not sure whether I ought to be proud or ashamed of that.
    Anyway, I’m guessing that tampons aren’t something Woods normally carries around. That suggests premeditation, making the situation a little worse. I still can’t get too upset. Maybe a 2 or a 3.

  4. Zero. Not sure how this is misogynistic according to Brennan. Men drive farther than women, fact. He compared Thomas driving performance to that of a presumably top tier woman effectively saying that he is not much competition to Tiger.

    Given the personal nature of tampons, unprofessional means of communicating the joke.

    Perhaps what upsets Brennan so much is the assumed reduction of dignity to women done by men making tampon jokes. If so, she fails to understand that men don’t have the same dignity issues down there and indeed do not understand her upsetness.

  5. I would say a 2, just because this is the type of joke that will knowingly offend some people. However, it is only a 2 for 2 reasons: I have known many women who have made similar jokes at the expense of men they felt were being overly sensitive or physically week and 2. Since women already hit off of a different tee, golf makes the same joke match after match. I am guessing that Male golfers regularly tell each other they should hit from the women’s tee, but the joke has gotten stale, hence the tampon.

  6. Christine Brennan is holding a simmering grudge because Tiger refused her advances (orsomysourcesclaim) which means she probably isn’t quite objective.
    But that’s okay because no one really cares.

    Negative 5

  7. As a woman who hates the idea of misogyny and dislikes sexual harassment in sports, I give this a ZERO!

    To the offended, GROW UP.

    To Tiger, grow up, stop using junior high premeditated jokes if you don’t want to be attacked.

    Seriously, those who are offended need to put on their big girl panties and try, just try, to act like they are older than my kids (eldest is a third grader) who come screaming, “Mommy, sissy said my imaginary friend has silly clothes on today.” They sound like they’d fit right in in my house.

    As for me, my patience with my kids having these false offense, tattle tale episodes where they hope I’ll punish their sibling runs out at about 9AM each morning. My patience with adults who do the same…well let’s just say I HAVE to give my children all the patience I can muster.

  8. Can I do something below zero. I’m tempted to say who cares; but I do care that there’s a group of perpetually offended people who are always looking for something to be offended by. Just sickening.

    • I see what you did there; go with the flow. Made me chuckle.
      Living in California, I have come to realize that being perpetually offended is its own sport, and people play to win. My fellow Californians would probably place this event around 7, but they are brainwashed and can’t let go of perceived offense until the target is destroyed.
      Lucky for Tiger, he is black and golf is very white. The King’s Pass applies doubly here.

  9. All, I’ve got at this point is ditto. Would it have been better for Tiger to loudly proclaim that Justin should tee off at the Women’s tee? Are women’s tee positions misogynistic a well?

  10. I suspect the problem whith is related to the comportment of golf vs the content of the joke.

    Golf does not seem to be a sport of such casual behavior as to throw a tampon at a competitor or even better pull out a box and shake it into the competitors bag.

    So, there is a sense that golf lofts above gutter jokes, and this joke contained all the useful components for someone to be offended.

    How would it be taken if there were a real female Tiger equivalent who regularly tossed a tampon at her competitor saying “you play like a girl”?
    How would it be taken if there were a trans woman Tiger equivalent who regularly tossed a tampon at her competitor saying “you play like a girl”?

  11. I wonder what would have happened if Thomas pulled a Will Smith and clocked Tiger. That’s what we did in junior high, which is about the level this joke is at. Somehow a joke isn’t funny when you’re icing a black eye. Actually, I know what would have happened: nothing. They’d have both gotten the King’s Pass.

  12. One thought: Brennan and the offended women would be on firmer ground if the women’s tees on golf courses weren’t well in front of the tee-off spots for men, on the theory that the vast majority of female golfers don’t drive the ball as far as men. If the courses and the game itself state by their actions that “you drive like a girl” has a clear meaning based on reality rather than misogyny, then this is a case of female athletes wanting special accommodations and being offended if they are then referenced by men.

  13. I’ve been away from the testosterone fueled world of competitive golf, even if at only the club and municipal level, for over twenty years now. It’s a weird world which can be weirdly misogynistic. A scratch amateur I knew told of his wife wailing to him, “Bob! You love golf more than you love me!” To which he replied, “Yes, Honey. But I love you more than I love soccer.” It’s a macho, men’s world in which bitching about women is just one of the things guys do when they’re together without women around.

    Arthur in Maine is absolutely spot on about high-performance athletes. They have a peculiar talent which makes them weird when they’re not doing the thing they’re really good at. When Tiger first appeared at a Phoenix Open as a twenty-something, he spent all his time off the course in local titty bars. He just has some deficits when it comes to his relationships with women. He’s not exactly a Jack Nicklaus in terms of being a spouse and a dad. I’ve always considered him unlikeable to the point of considering him a jerk. How could he have betrayed his gorgeous wife and abandoned his kids if he was a decent guy?

    So, self-awareness is not Tiger’s strong suit. The tampon stunt is something he should have reserved for a money game at home during a practice round with the boys. Doing it during a televised round of a not insignificant Tour tournament was just dumb and a disservice to the Tour, his fellow competitors, CBS, its advertisers, Tiger’s sponsors, his children (including a daughter!), Riviera Country Club, the Genisis car company, and so forth. But Tiger’s a dope. His comms team issued a standard apology, and he gets the King’s Pass. But boys will be boys. Earth to progressives (with a tip of the hat to AMG: golfers are not perfectible human beings, they’re golfers.

    A final note: in golf there is a thing called “Texas Rules.” When guys are playing according to Texas Rules, if you whiff your drive and it fails to make it past the women’s tees, you are obligated to hit your next shot with your dick hanging out of your pants through an open zipper. I guess I’d call that “context.”

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