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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) has called on the PGA Tour to strip the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia of the annual Masters Tournament over the state’s new voting law, according to a new report.
David J. Johns, executive director of the NBJC, said the law is intended to restrict voting rights of African Americans in Georgia.
“Georgia’s new law restricting voting access is designed to turn back the clock on civil rights, and return Black and poor and already disenfranchised voters in Georgia to second class citizens,” Johns said in a statement provided to Golfweek. “This is an unacceptable attack on our democracy and companies that operate in Georgia must speak out against this restrictive law.”
“The PGA Tour and Masters Tournament have both made commitments to help diversify golf and address racial inequities in this country — and we expect them to not only speak out against Georgia’s new racist voter suppression law — but to also take action.”
“Professional golf should not reward Georgia’s attacks on democracy and voting rights with the millions of dollars in revenue that the tournament generates and the prestige it brings to the State,” Johns said. “We all must act to protect our democracy and the right to vote.”
The civil rights group also urged professional golfers to boycott the event if it is not moved.
President Joe Biden has blasted voting laws like the one in Georgia as “un-American” and “sick,” and called the new Georgia voting law “an atrocity.”
“You don’t need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive, designed to keep people from voting,” Biden said.
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, however, said the law will make elections in Georgia “secure, accessible and fair.”
It’s not the first time the club and event have come under fire.
Last year, a sportswriter who had already suggested that the NFL eliminate the playing of the national anthem before each game said that the Masters Tournament change its name because “in the current climate, with all the sweeping changes, it’s only right and just.”
Rob Parker wrote a Deadline piece headlined “We’ve Lived with ‘The Masters’ Name Long Enough.”
“Augusta National was built on grounds that were once a slave plantation and was the property of a slave owner. And according to a 2019 New Yorker piece about the course, it’s believed that enslaved Blacks were housed on the property,” he wrote.
“Tiger Woods, other big-time golfers and corporate sponsorships should demand it. In the current climate, with all the sweeping changes, it’s only right and just. Best of all, in this case, it’s a simple and smooth fix. The Masters never felt good or even sounded good when you said it,” Parker wrote. “When you hear anyone say the Masters, you think of slave masters in the South. There’s nothing else, nothing special. You don’t think of someone mastering the game of golf. When has anyone mastered golf?”
“Augusta National admitted no African American members until 1990 and no women members until 2012” and the “club long required all caddies to be black and banned black golfers from the Masters Tournament until Lee Elder participated in 1975,” Parker wrote. “Even at dictionary.com, one of the definitions you get for ‘master’ is ‘owner of a slave.”’