Cameron Champ's shoes told a story of inequality, awareness
AUGUSTA, Ga. - Here in Augusta, a topic simmers beneath the surface. In the course of almost every press conference, people look out for the necessary questions about club selection and wellbeing. It's the issue of Georgia's new electoral law and systemic inequality and how players reconcile with what's going on at the gates at one of the world's most exclusive venues.
In their honor, the players discuss the topic and do not hide behind the platitudes "I do not do politics". Many make a distinction between matters of personal preference, such as political beliefs, and matters of universal concern, such as equality and equal opportunities.
Few have been as open-minded as Cameron Champ, one of the few minority golfers on the PGA Tour and the only player with black heritage in this year's Masters. At his press conference before the Masters, Champ gave a glimpse of what it's like on the ropes. Most players, he said, don't discuss politics at all. Part of this is due to unwillingness to pucker up feathers, while another part is due to a simple lack of knowledge, according to Champ.
Up to this point, Champ noted that he spoke with both words and symbolism after protests against the murder of Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake at the BMW Championship. "I was really the only one who said something," he said. "I remember going out on the track and I had Breonna Taylor and Jacob Blake on my shoes and I was asked by three different people who they are? To me, that's again proof of why I'm doing it . ""
It would be a mistake to write off the entire golf community for a few unsuspecting people on a track, but by the same token, Champ clearly believes that it doesn't ask too much for players to at least know what is going on out in the world, and he plans to keep talking.
"It's something I feel like I have to," he said. "I'm just trying to keep it going and laying more foundations to make it work and build because ... social injustice or equality or race that is only talked about when bad incidents happen, which is kind of unfortunate is. "
Champ said he did not discuss politics with other actors - "I avoid this at all costs" - but tried to achieve a note of awareness and insight that is often lacking in public discussions of political beliefs. "Everyone has their own personal opinions and rights. Just because you might have a different opinion than me doesn't mean I like or dislike you. When people start talking about politics, things get really sticky because of them People hurt their feelings or they disagree with my opinion. "
There's a lot more to come this week, but as Champ sees the world of golf, "There is still a lot of work to be done but I think everything is going in the right direction."
OLYMPIA FIELDS, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 27: A detailed view of the shoes worn by Cameron Champ of the USA shows "Breonna Taylor BLM" as they perform during the first round of the BMW Championship on the North Course at Olympia Fields Country Club on August 27 was seen. 2020 in Olympia Fields, Illinois. (Photo by Stacy Revere / Getty Images)
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jaybusbee or contact him at email@example.com.
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