Seventy-one years after Jackie Robinson broke through the color barrier in baseball, it seems that Donald Trump’s America has embraced another pastime. This new sport is catching on like wildfire, likely because it can be easily played by all. It does not require great athleticism, coordination, training, practice or money.
We live in an era where players such as Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, P.K. Subban and the Nigerian women’s bobsled team have made an impact in sports that have historically been dominated by white athletes. Now, MAGA Americans upset with the shifting demographics of the country are embracing the sport of calling the cops on black people for trespassing.
In one of the latest exhilarating matchups, the Grandview Golf Club in York, Pa. called the police on five black women, who held memberships at the club, for allegedly playing too slow.
According to The Washington Post, the five women, part of a group known as Sisters in the Fairway, were approached on the second hole by former Republican York County Commissioner Steve Chronister, and told that they needed to “keep up the pace of play.” This is despite the fact that the ladies’ start time was delayed almost an hour due to frost on the golf course.
The women were also given the green light to play as a group of five by the Grandview clerk, instead of the traditional foursome. Yet, two holes in, they were confronted by the former commissioner, who is the father of the club’s co-owner, Jordan Chronister.
“He was extremely hostile,” Myneca Ojo told the York Daily Record.
The women consulted with a golf course pro about their speed of play and were told they were “fine” and had kept pace with the group ahead of them. That didn’t stop Steve Chronister from approaching the women again, saying “You're going too slow, I'll give you a refund,” as if he hadn’t just slowed them down further with his shenanigans.
After the ninth hole, three of the women, Sandra Harrison, Carolyn Dow and Karen Crosby, decided to leave. They felt unwelcomed and discriminated against. However, when Ojo and Sandra Thompson returned to the course from the customary break at the clubhouse, they were approached by several white male employees and told the police had been called.
In a video submitted by Thompson, during the confrontation, Jordan Chronister stated, “It’s 1:28, you got off the green at 12:45. I was sitting there counting.”
Let that sink in for a moment.
‘I was sitting there counting.’
Exactly why was the owner of this golf club sitting, watching, waiting and counting the time for the only black women present on the golf course? Why didn’t he confront the group of white men behind the women, who were still taking a break in the clubhouse?
A quick look at the video clearly shows that it’s very unlikely that the Chronister’s beef with the women had to do with the pace of the game and everything to do with the color of their skin.
Perhaps Harrison was being targeted for being the head of the York County branch of the NAACP. As Jordan Chronister continuously and aggressively got in Harrison’s face, his father told him, “This is what she wants. This is what she does for a living.”
Luckily for the Sisters in the Fairway, the Northern York County Regional Police had more sense than the Philadelphia police officers who arrested Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson for waiting while black. When the York PD arrived and discovered the ridiculous reason they were called to the Grandview golf course, they determined that their presence was not needed and exited stage left.
We determined this was not a police matter, and we left,” Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel told The Washington Post. “Other than people offering their opinion back and forth, there were no problems. No need for us to be there.”
Sunday, the other Grandview Golf Club co-owner, JJ Chronister, issued an apology.
“…Several of our members had an experience that does not reflect our organization’s values or our commitment to delivering a welcoming environment for everyone. We are disappointed that this situation occurred and regret that our members were made to feel uncomfortable in any way. We have reached out to the members who shared their concerns to meet in-person, to fully understand what happened so that we can ensure it never happens again.”
However, after the women declined the meeting request, the golf club issued a second statement, which seemed to double down on calling the boys in blue.
“Grandview currently has 2400 members. In the past players who have not followed the rules, specifically pace of play, have voluntarily left at our request as our scorecard states. In this instance, the members refused to leave so we called police to ensure an amicable result.”
The second statement also points to “voices escalated” as a reason the police were summoned. No, no, no! We can’t have those black women raising their voices while being harassed.
As a black person who has taken up the sport of golf over the past few years, I’ve often feared running into a situation like the five women in Pennsylvania went through – or worse.
In 2015, Missouri was deemed “The Heart of Racial Tension in America” by the Huffington Post. I can’t deny that there are certain courses that I’ve felt uncomfortable playing by myself. Though most golf courses are beautiful and scenic places, it’s hard to shake the subconscious feeling that a “Get Out” moment could happen at any time. Get too close to the tree line on a secluded part of the course and wake up in the sunken place or in a jail cell because I couldn’t keep the ball in the fairway.
The bigoted sport of calling the police on non-violent black and brown people needs to stop.
**Twitter name change** You can now follow Ishmael and In the Clutch on Twitter @IshCreates.