“Steve is certainly no racist,” was the extraordinarily benevolent verdict of Tiger Woods, the golfer, referring to his former caddie Steve Williams, who had called him a “black arsehole”. Or ‘black a***hole’ as the papers put it.
Benevolent because Williams – who made the remark while accepting an award at an international caddie love-in in Shanghai last week – had worked as Woods’ bag-carrier for twelve years, earning millions in the process. Millions! Just for carrying a golf bag and occasionally mentioning which way the wind was blowing. Far from sticking the award up his employer’s fundament, as was Williams’s stated wish in his acceptance speech, he should have been prepared to kiss it – perhaps in Macy’s Window, as New Yorkers like to say.
Williams seemed shocked by the resulting media firestorm. Initially, far from contrite, he expressed puzzlement. “Everyone laughed their heads off,” he explained, adding that others at the event had used profanity far worse than his. Well, no doubt they did – it was that kind of evening. Boys will be boys, and all that. But Steve doesn’t seem to understand that the other speakers were sensible enough not to indulge damning racial prefixes.
If Williams doesn’t understand the difference between a pointless profanity and a pointed slur, then he himself is the arsehole.
Perhaps I should say “white arsehole”.