Kelly Tilghman: Case Closed

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I actually feel for Kelly Tilghman. By all accounts she’s a young woman doing her best with a great opportunity to co-anchor a national golf telecast alongside the legendary Nick Faldo. Being on television is harder than it looks. Being on live television is an excursion rife with mines. Unfortunately she inadvertently stepped on one and it exploded in her face.

Today, Tilghman was suspended by the Golf Channel for two weeks for saying, jokingly, that Tiger Woods “should be lynched in a back alley.” I thought the action was more than sufficient (even a single week would have been fine), and I commend the network’s leaders for making the bold move and affirming that some language – no matter how inadvertent and unfortunate – simply cannot be uttered, not even in jest, by media professionals.

No, I do not believe she intended revive the kind of painful imagery the word “lynch” conjures for so many people in this nation. I do not believe she intended to use a word that struck the fear of God in the hearts of my parents’ generation and those before them.

Perhaps she had no idea what a lynching truly is. If not, yet another reason to feel for Tilghman.

No doubt, she knows now. She now knows, in truth, what she should have been taught in school, at least somewhere along the line. Or what she should have learned in life – from parents or friends. But our schools no longer dwell on such aspects of our history – maybe good, maybe not.

And like many words that I learned never to utter, perhaps “lynching” has been defused for her generation. Like many other words that young people utter without a thought of the pain of their past.

She didn’t mean anything by it. I must have read that sentiment a thousand times from the great people who weighed in on my blog post. And I’m sure she didn’t.

She just didn’t know. And that’s sad.

She knows now. Lesson learned, painfully.

Now, as Tiger said: Case closed.


29 thoughts on “Kelly Tilghman: Case Closed

  1. tiffanypollard says:

    If you think Kelly Tilghman is a RACIST, show it by voting!

  2. al says:

    Why a picture of someone who is not Kelly Tilghman?

  3. Nicky C says:

    al Said is correct. If you’re going to post a picture of someone, make sure it’s correct. That’s Kay Cockerill, the on course reporter for the Golf Channel that is pictured above not Kelly Tilghman. Sorry Mr. Johnson, once again you’ve proved yourself to be an ass who doesn’t bother to check the facts before he writes something.

  4. WhoopDeeDo says:

    Roy S. Johnson! You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Kelly is from SC and does not know what the word lynch means? REALLY??!?? You FEEL for her? That’s your mainstream mask right there, but I know what you really feel, bruh!

  5. Dan Higgins says:

    Appreciate the comments, but you have the wrong photo. It’s not Kelly Tilghman. this photo is of Kay Cockerill.

  6. Go Terps says:

    I have the feeling you didn’t write this entry. Maybe you had someone proofread it or help you write it. After all, you made a fool out of yourself with the last entry. You feel for Kelly, huh? Bull.

  7. Donald Welker says:

    Get over it Al. Horse thieves were “lynched” in the old west. So to say that the word “lynch” is somehow your own black word I think you’re putting your self importance up there just a little to high.

  8. John says:

    I’m from Wyoming, and out there, a lynching was something done to horse thieves and cattle rustlers. So, if I were to use the word, I would be using in that context. It’s hard for me to imagine, though, a context where lynching Tiger is not offensive. Ignoring any racial overtones, she was saying that they should take him in an alley and kill him. That’s pretty outrageous, and I think unforgiveable. She should be fired.

    That being said, I think it is good that lynching is losing its meaning in this generation. I think in order to move beyond racisim, we have to move beyond our enslavement to words and their meanings. Parsing sentences every time someone says anything about a person of color is getting rather tiresome. That in itself helps fan the flames of discrimination.

    What is the goal? Everyone talks about how bad racism is, and how bad things were in this country for people of color. Duh. I think we know that. But what kind of America do we want to see in the future? What is our goal? I think too many people are stuck in the past, reliving and recounting past horrors. We need to start living in the now, and looking to the future.

    I would like a future where you can say what you want without taking into account the person’s color. Frankly, color of skin falls into the same category as color of the eyes for me. In other words, it’s not very important. But sometimes I wonder if that’s the new problem. Maybe a lot of black people still want color to matter? And if that’s the case, how can we ever get beyond two Americas: one white and one black.

  9. Mike Phillips says:

    She is a reporter and professional speaker. It’s core to her job to show sensitivity and a command of her language. Her comment may be a one off, it may be the tip of an iceberg.

    There are surely many things this bright attractive young lady can do with the rest of her life and probably many more in show business.

    But she should lose this job as a reward for her lack of depth, out of respect to Americans who lived through the issues of slavery, and for the embarrasment she’s caused her employer.

    Actually she might consider quitting her post and put in some social service time teaching history to young people. Then she could write a book about the experience, maybe even get into politics. And the funny thing is we’d probably all buy it.

  10. Kenc says:

    Have we gotten to the point in this country where each and every word has to be measured against a list that might/could remotely bother every special interest group in the world?? If so, I would be offended each and every day. But I am not. Why, you ask? Because I have a semblance of intellect.

    I thought we had reached a point where we all viewed Tiger as a great golfer, not as a great BLACK golfer. By calling attention to this you only make it worse and take us back decades. Tiger wasn’t upset with it. Why should you punish Kelly for a statement that, said about any other golfer, would have been dismissed as actually humorous?

    To suggest that she was waiting for some dead air time
    to utter a remark that would be racist is nuts.

    Now we will have nothing but vanilla conversation (oops — sorry, guess that’s a racist comment directed at white people now too).

  11. Robert says:

    I noticed in your latest article regardingKelly Tilghman you neglected to adress your sexist remarks and racial stereotyping from your previous article.

    Whil I know many ingnorant peopel commented negatively, some intelligently pointed out your own shortcomings that you so blatantly aired in your rush to judgement.

    You have not corrected your inference that everyone who went to Duke is racist, nor the fact that the Duke case was the EXACT OPPOSITE of the context in which you used it.

    You have not clarified your inclusion and comparison to the Jena Six you inflammatorily included and compared her remark to.

    More importantly, you haven’t apologized for your sexist attitude towards her (calling her a hottie) and for suggesting that she only got the job because she is female and could swing a club.

    had any white journalist said that an announcer only gotten his job because he happens to be able to hit a baseball, and, is black, you would have been in an uproar.

    I was giving you the benefit of the doubt, awaiting your response to the susoension and to Tiger’s saying it was a NON-issue.

    Sadly, you continue to spew your own brand of racist rhetoric and have not apologized for doing exactly what Ms. Tilghman did-
    Not choose your words very carefully.

    At least kelly Apologized for her misdeed.
    You seem oblivious to your own transgression, while calling Kelly out for virtually the same thing, and have explicitly chosen to not correct your phrasing or apoligize for your ignorant characterizations.

    You have lost a reader.
    I have forwarded my feelings on this matter, along with copies of your comments and lack of addressing them to Yahoo, Men’s Fitness, NBATV as well as the NY Daily News and SportsnetNYC.

    I cannot belive that as a black man, I am forced to have a short sighted bigot like yourself speak on behalf of my race. Between yourself and Kam Williams, our community looks worse and worse in print every day.
    Thanks for perpetuating that, brother.

    You disgust me with your cowardice.

  12. That Guy says:

    From Lynch–verb (used with object) to put to death, esp. by hanging, by mob action and without legal authority.

    Notice the complete abscence of racial association…

    A thoughtless comment is precisely that, and NOT social commentary.

    You apparently live your life by the revisable perfection of the written word. Or may be just you personally are perfect, and therefore have little relative comparability to mere mortals.

    Regardless, people of all races have been “lynched.” No group has a corner on the term. You and Sharpton should drop the polictical posturing and focus on issues of substance.

  13. Jason M says:

    If you are going to feign so much indignation, you should at least get the quote right. She never said that Tiger should be lynched, Kelly said that was the only way anyone was going to beat Tiger.

  14. Carlos Parter says:

    What Kelly said was undeniably ignorant but that is the state of our country today. Whether it be denied, implied or realistic ignorance, it is what it is.

    Enough of that.. Case closed.. However I still relate back to an article you did in 2003 stating Tiger has lost his mojo. What say you now?

    Inquiring, golf fan would like to know.

  15. Carlos Parter says:

    Hummm… I read the comment above about lynching and it shows how little people care about history. People try or they are just ignorant of the past. Yes, the definition is correct and yes Al Sharpton is a bit over the top on everything. However, the word lynch is just like the confederate flag in the African-American community. It is a reminder of a dark past. It should not be taken lightly or accepted. You may be unaware of the historical facts around the word but it does not diminish it one bit.

  16. Phil says:

    “However, the word lynch is just like the confederate flag in the African-American community.”

    In YOUR community it is….well guess what, there are white communities, asian, hispanic, etc. There are many things that people say that could be deemed offensive if we feel a desire to make it so.

    The Historical Facts around the word are actually that more white people were lynched than any other race, so please expand your historical facts to ‘communities’ that are of other racial mixes than your own.

    Racism will go away when people stop focusing on the differences, and when you say things like “in the african american community’ you are already being clearly exclusive. I agree with an above poster, most educated people realize that color is very unimportant…its the uneducated or willfully ignorant that think in terms of exclusionary communities. This is America, a melting pot. Grow up.

  17. Phil says:

    Oh, and I am the only one who remembers the old Pace Pecante Sauce commercials? “New York City?!?!? Get a rope..”

    That would be about as racist as her comment, which is not at all.

  18. Mark says:

    Wrong picture/quote, right picture/quote regardless. The issue is she said something that was offensive to an entire race of people, and it was overboard. The problem is that people confuse freedom of speech with prejudice way too often. All I’m saying is; say what you want, but respect your fellow man.

  19. Jay says:


    What a useless waste of space he takes up on this earth. Where was he when the Duke rape case was exposed by a lying black woman? He was down here running his mouth saying racism at the time BUT I never heard a apology from him admitting that he was sorry and wrong for taking the side of the lying black woman. Al Sharpton sould be lynched for that!!

    Remember racism works both ways!!

  20. Jay says:


    What a useless waste of space he takes up on this earth. Where was he when the Duke rape case was exposed by a lying black woman? He was down here running his mouth saying racism at the time BUT I never heard a apology from him admitting that he was sorry and wrong for taken the side of the lying black woman. Al Sharpton sould be lynched for that!!

    Remember racism works both ways!!

  21. Kevdog says:

    I see this is where the ignorant, angry white males and sellout niggas hang out.

  22. I love watching white folks come out of the woodwork to bemoan the fact that race still matters in America. I imagine them lighting a candle under a portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. as they type that they only want to judge people by the content of their character. And that so and so is “Playing the race card” by bringing up a racial incident. Or that they’re so dismayed that “race was introduced” to something they’ve determined to not concern race. It’s like watching a sitcom where you know the formula, but it still makes you laugh, year after year. And that’s the chuckle I get from all of the “me see no racial issue” folks. Stay sexy you guys, stay sexy.

  23. Daryl says:

    No self respecting intelligent white person would use the verb “lynch” in a conversation with an African American, not even in jest. The history of the African American experience in the United States is a painful, vivid reminder of the brutal racism we experienced. African Americans will NEVER become insensitive, or develop amnesia to what happened to us in this country. It is an insult to our humanity to suggest that we do so. I agree with Roy Johnson’s view point 100%!

  24. Swifty says:

    Daryl….it is sad that you can’t get on with your life.

  25. Jay says:

    Daryl…it is sad that you have to blame the white folks for all your misery. I’m sorry but I’m not responsible for what happened to the black folks 200+ years ago. So quit worrying about history and get a job and go to work!

  26. Michael says:

    This has been a fascinating read – and very illustrative of the differences in our society over race and sensitivities. Making the point that White people are not insulted when the word “lynch” is used – and therefore Black people should not be – is missing a key point. White people were lynched for being murderers, cattle rustlers and thieves. Black people were lynched for… BEING BLACK! (I expect that some of you will now go digging to find that one reference to a convicted black felon who was lynched). I do not wear my “Blackness” on my sleeve. I also think Sharpton is a fool – and an embarassment to those of us who are not lemmings. Having said that, race is something I live with every single day. Until we recognize that hurt and harm can be delivered via seemingly “innocent” comments, we will never progress as a society.

  27. Scott Becker says:

    I see that I got here kind of late – we all have our different opinions. What she did was very wrong – I agree, but you have never made a mistake at work????
    I know it is her job to be correct in situations like that AT ALL TIMES, but policemen don’t make mistakes, judges don’t make mistakes. She is human, yes it was terrible what she said and unfortunately her job is in the public eye, but she has never given us reason to believe that she is racist before. Let her serve her suspension, let’s give it a rest and move on ENOUGH!

  28. Ben says:

    I heard Kelly when she made the comment on air because I love and watch golf all the time. Did NOT think nothing of it. But then big AL had to open his mouth and then she gets suspended. I 100% guarantee you if Kelly was black and said this big A**HOLE AL would not have said a thing. The history of the White American experience in the United States is a painful, vivid reminder of the brutal racism we are experiencing in the year 2008! I agree with what Jay said:

    “Lynch Al Sharpton”

  29. Daryl says:

    Jay, thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment. It is great to see citizens of this great country avail themselves of their first amendment rights. Let me say that it was rather “ignorant” for you to assume that I am unemployed, and that I’m a ward of the state. Finally, let me repeat what I said in my post dated January 12, 2008. “No self respecting intelligent white person would use the verb “lynch” in a conversation with an African American. Not even in jest”. My position still stands.

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