Everything Trump Touches dies-Including Jack Nicklaus’ Reputation

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The Golden Bear. If you’re a sports fan, you probably know to whom this nickname refers. But many of you are not, so as a public service, the iconic handle belongs to Jack Nicklaus, widely considered the greatest golfer who has ever lived.

Mr. Nicklaus is from my home state of Ohio, went to The Ohio State University, won 73 tournaments in his career, including 18 majors. His career is legendary and respected throughout the world as the greatest golfer ever and one of the most generous, who raised and donated millions of dollars, especially in children’s health care.

Yet, despite all of those accolades, Mr. Nicklaus did something a couple of days ago that, in my view, sullied his once sterling reputation: He endorsed and voted for Donald Trump. As someone who’s admired him for many years, I can no longer look at him in the same way.

What the hell was he thinking?

Look, Mr. Nicklaus has every right to vote for whomever he pleases and to speak out whenever he wants. But when you read his statement that he released on Twitter, you realize the man is as clueless as the rest of Trump’s cult.

For example, he acknowledges knowing several presidents on both sides of the aisle. He writes, “All were good people. All loved their country. And all believed in the American Dream.” Seriously? Does he put the current president in the same league with the other presidents he’s known?

Let me correct Mr. Nicklaus. The more accurate quote should be, “Trump loves Trump, Trump believes in Trump, and Trump believes in doing what’s right for Trump.”

And then he goes on to write the following: “I have seen a resolve and a determination to do the right thing for our country. He has delivered on his promises. He’s worked for the average person. In my opinion, he has been more diverse than any President I have seen and has tried to help people from all walks of life-equally.”

I wonder who Mr. Nicklaus is referring to when he speaks of Trump working for the ‘average person.’ Does he mean himself, a multi-millionaire many times over who received a massive tax cut? Or, does he mean cutting things like food stamps for people and trying to take health care away from millions?

And perhaps the most galling statement of all: “This is not a personality contest; it’s about patriotism, policies and the people they impact. His love for America and its citizens, and putting his country first, has come through loud and clear.”

Do you mean putting his country first by lining his pockets with government money spent at his properties? By trying to get a foreign country to intervene in his reelection by asking them to dig up dirt on his potential rival for president? By calling people in the military suckers and losers? I’m beginning to think that Mr. Nicklaus must be an avid watcher of a particular state TV network. He doesn’t know, and he doesn’t know that he doesn’t know.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, though. After all, this is just one old rich white guy endorsing another old rich (?) white guy. Oh, and both are in the golf course and real estate business as well. Like minds think alike, I suppose.

There have been a few other sports personality endorsements for the current president lately; NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre and former journeyman QB Jay Cutler, to name two. It’s funny, though. When Lebron James and other famous African-American athletes speak out on social issues or endorse Democrats, they’re told to just “shut up and dribble.” Or, when athletes kneel for the National Anthem, the current president has said, “I’d fire the son-of-a-bitches!”

I think we won’t see the “outrage” from Fox News over these particular sports celebrity endorsements. And the current president will, of course, brag about how these “great Americans” love him—more hypocrisy from the most hypocritical president in history.

But maybe I’m missing the real story with Mr. Nicklaus. Perhaps he shares more traits with the current president than I had previously known. According to a recent column by Christine Brennan of USA Today, when asked in July 1994 by a Vancouver Province reporter about the lack of Black people in golf, Nicklaus responded, ” Blacks have different muscles that react in different ways.” According to Brennan, Nicklaus never denied the comment but said it was taken out of context. Oh, I’m sure it was.

When I was growing up in Akron, Ohio, my father and I would watch golf on TV together. I was a big Arnold Palmer fan, and he loved Nicklaus. He used to tease me about how great Nicklaus was and how much better he was than Palmer. Those kinds of things you tend never to forget – the bonding between a son and his dad.

And over the years, I grew to admire Nicklaus for how great a golfer and humanitarian he was. So, why, at the age of 80, he decided to weigh in to endorse the sexist, racist, misogynist president is beyond my wildest imagination. I wouldn’t think it’s the way someone would want to be remembered in the last years of his life. But he has a right to his opinion – as wrongheaded and ridiculous as it is.

But Brennan also pointed out something else in her column, and it probably explains a lot. Nicklaus was a white male golfer, born in 1940, who spent his entire life in a sport that kept women and minorities from participating. His admiration for the current president kind of makes sense when you think about it. His years of privilege and insulation from most of American society more than likely plays a part in his worldview.

In the Donald Trump era, we’ve seen over and over who his supporters are. They ignore his lies, his racism, his callous disregard for human life, his decimation of our democratic institutions. None of that stuff matters to them because he speaks for them. He says what they all think. They love the insults and bullying because, for some reason, it seems to resonate with them.

To have a sports legend and icon like Jack Nicklaus fall into this category is beyond disappointing. I realize it’s not a big deal to many of you out there. But to me, in such dangerous and uncertain times, a man with this kind of influence and status, especially in the sporting world, should know better.

Now he decides it’s time to weigh in? Now he chooses to speak out for this particular president?

As the title to political strategist Rick Wilson’s book says: Everything Trump touches dies – including, now, the once impeccable reputation of Jack Nicklaus. May it rest in peace.

35 comments

  1. His love for America and its citizens, and putting his country first, has come through loud and clear.”

    Needs editing … His love for TRUMP and his kids/supporters/rich buddies, and putting HIMSELF first, has definitely come through loud and clear.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Nicklaus’ entire commentary makes me feel ill. Like you, I grew up with a father who was an avid golf fan, a Sunday afternoon golfer. As he had no son to share such things with, I had to fill in. I well remember his admiration for Nicklaus and others, an admiration I once shared. Not today, though. Today, I consider Nicklaus to be a racist bigot, just like the ‘man’ he claims is so ‘wonderful’. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, the reason I love golf today is because of my father, who, I might add, was an FDR liberal and proud Democrat. He’d be appalled at what Jack did. Turning over in his grave I’m sure!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha … the reason I HATE golf today is because of my father! He wanted a boy to do ‘guy stuff’ with, but he got only me, so he tried to make me into the son he had hoped for. Every Sunday afternoon, he took me for 9 holes of golf. No golf carts back in those days … you carried your clubs on your shoulder and walked the entire course. I was a slight, asthmatic kid with coke-bottle glasses and leg braces trying my best to keep up. After some 20 swings at the ball, I would finally hit it, but I always knew I was not quite living up to his expectations! 🤣 By age 13, he gave up on me and focused on teaching my cousin the game … he did far better at it than I did! Yes, I imagine your dad and mine would be turning over in their graves at this grave (pun intended) injustice. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can see why you soured on golf Jill. That wasn’t very nice of him to expect that of you. I’ve probably been playing roughly 30 years or so, at least on a semi-regular basis. I played off and on when I was a young teen-ager. My dad was pretty good at it. Me? mediocre at best. LOL….I still enjoy it though. We have a course in our small town that is gorgeous, as it’s set inside the backdrop of the Coastal Mountain Range. Tough course, but just being out in the wilderness like that is a good stress-reliever….which, for the last 4 years, has been a Godsend!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Your course sounds right up my alley … I would go there not to hit a poor, defenseless little ball into a hole, but simply to enjoy nature. Right now I just want to be surrounded by trees and a babbling brook. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed Neil. You know, Michael Jordan used to get criticized for not speaking out on social issues. His response? “Hey, Republicans by tennis shoes too.” In other words, he knew better than to piss off a bunch of people. I guess Jack, at this stage of his life, just doesn’t care. Still, I can’t imagine Arnold Palmer ever doing something like that if he were still alive.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    One of the nation’s most accomplished and respected golfers has turned public respect into public animosity with a few simple words. Apparently, just because a man can hit a little ball into a hole, doesn’t make him a deep thinker or an intelligent person. Thanks for sharing this, Jeff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jill! Yes, just because you’re successful at something, or very rich, does not make you smart. Maybe your smart at one thing or great at doing something, but when it comes to common sense? Forget it. I bet you if you took a poll on the PGA Tour of golfers, you’d see them overwhelmingly support Trump. That makes me ill!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Any fool can make a fortune … but it takes a person with a conscience and a heart and a brain to make a difference in this world. At the end of the day, I would much rather make a difference than be wealthy.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I. Loathe. Golfers. There is something inherently smug, condescending and self righteous about them all and they have had more than their share of scandalous episodes altough it usually gets swept under the high paid attorney’s rug. This just puts the sugary rose on the cake for me. 🤮

    Like

  5. I’m sure Nicklaus’s motive for supporting Trump is the same as the motives of Ice Cube, Lil’ Wayne, and 50 Cent. Each of them knows that, as multi-millionaires, Biden’s tax plan would hit them much harder than Trump’s tax breaks for the wealthy. These endorsements have nothing to do with principles or character. They’re all about the money.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. IMHO, citizens who mindlessly vote in accordance with the endorsement of their sports hero or celebrity figure should not be allowed to vote. They should be required to pass a citizenship test first! Sheesh.

    Like

  7. Each to their own–except when it affects people who are not like them in adverse ways. But that is what is wrong with Repuglycans, they want to force everyone else live according to Repuglycan rules. I laugh when I read them say they want the best for everyone. To them, everyone consists of only those people who look like them, or those people who think they are better off serving people who look like them.
    They think they are on top, and they intend to stay there. No one else can run things like they to–for themselves only.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve never had a problem with celebrities or athletes taking a stand on an issue, in fact, I think it’s a good thing. It’s a way to use their platform to raise awareness of issues. But it is much easier to accept such endorsements when they speak out on behalf of issues that you agree with. I admired Kapernick for what he did, and the same with LeBron James. But I guess it’s harder to admire such endorsements when they go against what I believe in. That’s the situation I have trouble with here. If LeBron can speak his mind, then so can Jack, as disappointed as I am in the way he has chosen to do so. I guess the only good thing is that many people voting for the first time in this election may not know who Jack is, and could care less about what he has to say.

    As you point out, Jack has done a lot of good over his life, and I don’t think this endorsement takes away from it. He’s entitled to his opinion, even if I strongly disagree with it.

    And please don’t take this the wrong way; I’m as anit-Trump as they come.

    I’m trying to think if I’d be more upset if someone like Lance Armstrong, whom I have no respect for, came out in favor of Biden. I’d be worried to think I have something in common with Lance if he did so…

    Sorry my thoughts are all over the place; I guess bottom line is, people are entitled to their opinion, whether they are famous or not, and whether I agree with them or not, I want to respect their right to express themselves…

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Sigh. It is so hard … I want to say that their opinion is the very thing that is going to bring this nation to its knees. And yet, you’re right … they are entitled to believe as they do. I try so hard to be fair, and yet … I see that often I am not. Sigh.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree with you Jim. I mentioned in my post that he certainly is entitled to his opinion. I think my take is more along the lines of how he’s never really weighed in before on these issues, and for him to embrace a man like Trump, at this time, just made no sense to me. Plus, I’ve followed his career and admired him for so long. My personal view of him took a big hit. Especially his incredibly clueless statement. But that’s just my take. You’re right, though, I don’t think his take is going to make one damn bit of difference in this election. If that’s how he wants to be remembered, so be it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it does seem an odd choice for this to be his first time to do this, and so late in the election cycle. Yes, this has become part of who he is, along with everything else he has done…

        Liked by 1 person

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