A prominent US sports broadcaster has called for The Masters Tournament to change its name, calling it “a dark reminder of America’s ugly past”.
In an opinion piece for Deadspin, Rob Parker said that the major should return to its original name – the Augusta National Invitational – to dispense with the racial connotations of the name it adopted in 1939.
The comments from Parker, who has worked for the likes of Fox and ESPN and, in 1995, became the first black general sports columnist at Newsday in New York, come as the spotlight shines on sport to play its part in ending racial and social inequality.
That responsibility has intensified following the recent discovery of a noose planted inside the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver in NASCAR.
“The Masters never felt good or even sounded good when you said it,” wrote Parker. “And before we hear from the choir about tradition and history, save it.
“When that history and tradition is rooted in slavery, it shouldn’t be preserved and honored.
“Be honest. When you hear anyone say The Masters, you think of slave masters in the South. There’s nothing else, nothing special. You don’t think of someone mastering the game of golf. When has anyone mastered golf?”
Parker used the same piece to call on the current Masters champion to help drive the change.
“Tiger Woods, other big-time golfers and corporate sponsorships should demand it,” he added. “In the current climate, with all the sweeping changes, it’s only right and just. Best of all, in this case, it’s a simple and smooth fix.
“This isn’t out of line or going too far. In reality, it’s amazing these names and symbols have been allowed all this time.”
The 2020 edition of The Masters is scheduled for November 12-15 after it was moved from its traditional April date due to the coronavirus pandemic.