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Thursday, August 28, 2008

The "English-only" Movement Hits Professional Sports

The "English-Only" movement has, in recent years, been mostly targeted at Spanish-speaking immigrants. No we're not gonna teach you in our schools in Spanish, or provide Spanish legal documents or ballots, etc.--you're in American, damnit, so speak American--oops, I mean English!

Now comes word that the LPGA tour, for professional women golfers, has instituted a policy requiring all players to be conversant in English or face suspension. (See While the tour has players from 26 different countries, the policy is primarily targeted at the 45 South Korean players. The justification: "“It is important for sponsors to be able to interact with players and have a positive experience.” says Kate Peters, tournament director of the LPGA State Farm Classic. Oh, and it's for their own good: We want to help their professional development,” deputy commissioner Libba Galloway says. “We want to help our athletes as best we can succeed off the golf course as well as on it.” How thoughtful and beneficient of them. This altruistic change was implemented, not with input from players, not by distributing the policy in writing, not even by holding a meeting with all players. No, only the South Korean players were singled out in being called to a mandatory meeting at the Safeway Classic to inform them of the new policy. Nice, enlightened folks running things there at the LPGA. Brilliant. How 21st century. You can just imagine the executives griping behind closed doors: "I mean they all look alike, and their names sound the same--they're completely indistingishable to fans. Who cares if they can play golf--we can't market them! We gotta do SOMETHING!" Kind of resembles the "literacy test" used to deny minority voting rights in days gone by. The stupidity of some folks never ceases to amaze, huh?

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