As sporting events across the NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS, and WTA took back seats to player-led protests in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs resume today, about an hour away (88 miles) in Chicago.
At least one Tour player expressed his frustration at seeing yet another Black man being shot – seven times – while trying to enter his vehicle with his children. Cameron Champ, one of four Black golfers on Tour, is making a statement against racial injustice. The PGA Tour posted a video on social media on Wednesday and Champ re-tweeted, that he will once again be wearing one Nike golf shoe that is black on his left foot and the other that is white, the latter with the words “Jacob Blake” and “BLM” in black marker. Champ, 25, previously wore the shoes in 2019 during Black History Month at the Waste Management Phoenix Open as a tribute to his heritage.
“It’s just spreading awareness and sticking by what I believe in and what I believe needs to be changed,” said Champ, the son of bi-racial parents, in the post. “And so, I’m going to do as much as I can. I’ve seen a bunch of other athletes speak out about it. It’s a situation where people don’t want to talk about it, which I get, but at the same time it’s reality. It’s what we live in.
“People ignore it for so long. And then it gets to a point where it just blows up,” added Champ, who will defend his title at the Safeway Open in two weeks. “This is just the tipping of the iceberg. Change needs to happen. I feel like it’s going in the right direction, but again, with all the stuff that’s going on, it has to end.”
On Thursday morning, the Tour issued the following statement:
The MLB, MLS, NBA, WNBA and WTA protests are player-led, peaceful, powerful ways to use their respective platforms to bring about the urgent need for change in our country. There have been a number of efforts in the past to send a message that the current climate is unacceptable, and these teams, leagues and players now taking this step will help draw further attention to the issues that really matter. The PGA Tour supports them – and any of our own members – standing up for issues they believe in.
The PGA Tour made a pledge over the summer to be part of the solution, and we have been actively working to make deeper and more specific commitments to racial equity and inclusion in the communities where we play, as well as supporting national organizations within this movement that we had not previously engaged with. However, we understand that now is not the appropriate time to highlight our programs and policies, but rather to express our outrage at the injustice that remains prevalent in our country.
Sports have always had the power to inspire and unify, and we remain hopeful that together, we will achieve change.
The BMW Championship is the second of three events in the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Cameron Champ is scheduled to tee off at 1:58 p.m. ET at Olympia Fields.