Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

We’ve Lived with 'The Masters' Name Long Enough

The Masters should stop honoring a racist past and change the name of the tournament. Image: Getty
The Masters should stop honoring a racist past and change the name of the tournament. Image: Getty

If you haven’t noticed, this country is changing by the day.

The racist names and symbols are going by the wayside quicker than you can keep up.

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Statues of Confederate officers and slave owners have been toppled, not just here, but all over the world. No one’s horrible legacy is safe during the current movement against police brutality and systemic racists after the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a white cop in Minneapolis.

People of all colors have taken to the streets demanding change from the powers that be, and, in some cases, made a change themselves.

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Recently, NASCAR did the unthinkable, banning the Confederate flag from its events. After all, that move is a direct slap in the face of the sport’s paying customers. It wasn’t an easy decision. It was simply the right choice.

Even Uncle Ben’s, Mrs. Butterworth’s, and Aunt Jemima are all out of work. Their racist/stereotypical images won’t grace the packaging of some of our long-standing food products soon.

But let’s not stop there.

There’s a bigger one in the room that needs to be addressed, changed and removed.

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The name “The Masters” must go.

The heralded golf tournament, one of the four majors, needs to go back to its original name — the Augusta National Invitational. It became the Masters in 1939.

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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.

And before we hear from the choir about tradition and history, save it.

When that history and tradition is rooted in slavery, it shouldn’t be preserved and honored.

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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.

And be honest. 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?

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The only thing worse than the name of the event is the actual venue.

The golf course where it’s held annually held long racist and sexist policies. Augusta National admitted no African American members until 1990 and no women members until 2012. The club long required all caddies to be black and banned black golfers from the Masters Tournament until Lee Elder participated in 1975.

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Even at dictionary.com, one of the definitions you get for “master” is “owner of a slave.”

It’s a dark reminder of America’s ugly past.

It’s not hard to make changes if your heart is in the right place. Take Sambo’s restaurant in Santa Barbara, Calif. The last remaining location of a breakfast chain dating back to 1957 is changing its name. Sambo is a derogatory racial epithet used for Black and mixed-Black indigenous people.

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In Cincinnati, players at the University of Cincinnati have a petition going to remove Marge Schott’s name off of the school’s baseball stadium. Schott, the former Cincinnati Reds owner, was ultimately forced to sell the team due to her use of racial slurs toward Black and Asian people, and her praise for Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party.

That’s all in play now and so is the Masters.

This isn’t out of line or going too far. In reality, it’s amazing these names and symbols have been allowed all this time.

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Even the military — against President Trump’s wishes — has come to terms with the idea of changing the names of bases that currently honor Confederate officers, like Fort Bragg and Fort Hood.

Remember, they were traitors and tried to overthrow the government. And why? To keep Black people enslaved. Hardly honorable. In fact, disgraceful.

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Same goes for the NFL that has all of a sudden been “woke.” After all, isn’t this the same league that shunned Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful personal protest back in 2016? The league has now committed $250 million to help fight racism in this country.

But it still has a franchise in its midst that has a racist name in D.C. That needs to be changed, too.

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None of this is impossible.

If NASCAR can make such a dramatic change for the better, the people in golf can do the same. Change is easy when it’s done for the betterment of all.

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