Nobel-prize winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman really stepped in it Monday night after disparaging Tiger Woods for receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In a tweet sent that evening, Krugman said he was “old enough to remember when Presidential Medals of Freedom were given for showing courage and making sacrifices on behalf of the nation and the world. Tiger Woods ... hits golf balls for money.”
There are many things to criticize Woods for (his personal life has been a mess) but to make such a sniveling remark because someone plays a sport (or a hobby, if that’s how you view golf) for a living is just an insult to the millions who enjoy watching sports. I’ll admit I wish we valued real academics and scientists more, but Americans are willing to pay billions to be entertained, and those who do the entertaining should be paid.
But beyond that smear from possibly the country’s worst economist (he predicted a recession if Donald Trump won the 2016 election; the economy is currently booming), his resentment is misplaced.
Trump is not the first president to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to an athlete.
John F. Kennedy established the award in 1963, adding on to an award previously established by President Harry Truman in 1945, which honored civilians during World War II.
Kennedy also gave the award to swimmer Robert J. H. Kiputh, so from the very creation of this award, it was used to honor athletes. Would Krugman, who was born in 1953 (thus old enough to remember the award’s establishment) describe Kiputh as someone “who swims for money”?
Presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush also all gave the award to athletes. Even Krugman’s beloved President Barack Obama gave the award to athletes — 12 of them, to be exact.
Did Krugman describe Billie Jean King, who received the award from Obama, as someone who “… hits tennis balls for a living”? Would he describe Michael Jordan as someone who “dunks basketballs for a living”? Would he describe Charles Sifford, who also played gold and was given the award by Obama, in the same way he described Tiger Woods?
It appears Woods’ biggest scandal is that he accepted the award from a president hated by the Left. The New York Times criticized the golfer for having a previous business relationship with Trump. News flash: Obama gave the award to his own vice president, Joe Biden, and there was hardly a peep about it from the Left.
The Times also suggested Trump only gave Woods the award because other black athletes have refused to go to the White House. Say what you will about the Times’ bias and inability to get stories about Republicans correct, those investigators can find racism anywhere.
Woods made one of the greatest comebacks in sports history after he won the Masters Tournament last month. But because he had the gall to be awarded by Trump, his accomplishment must be destroyed.