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.