LPGA Commish Carolyn Bivens
LPGA To Players: Learn English
By Kickntrue on 8/26/08
... or else. I'm not sure this is even legal. The LPGA is demanding their players become proficient in the English language or their LPGA status will be suspended.

Isn't this racism at it's best? This is unreal to me. I understand they are trying to get people to take to their stars more- but seriously?

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[ comments ]
Huckleberry says:
It's completely legal. They are a private company and they can set any requirements they want on employment so long as they do not discriminate on the basis of a protected class.

Language spoken is not a protected class.
8/26/08
 
Huckleberry says:
Argh. I forgot to add that I don't see how this is racist. All the Swedish players are most definitely white and they also have to be proficient in English. Same for any French, German, Dutch, Swiss, etc. players.
8/26/08
 
mbills1015 says:
I see no problem with it. If I was going to earn a couple hundred thousand a yr and my employer told me I could only speak Spanish from now on... I'd be calling Rosetta Stone!
8/26/08
 
shathorn says:
It's not racism. Its Americanism. English is our language. I think this should be the policy of all organizations and the stance of the national government. Don't shoot me yet. I am all for cultural diversity. I don't have any issues with people speaking Spanish, Italian, German, etc. BUT they should be fluent in English if they live and/or work full time in America.
8/26/08
 
Ben Crane says:
I'm for it, but don't understand the change now. Other sports like basketball (Yao Ming), baseball (Ichiro) and NASCAR (Eliott Sadler) have a growing percentage of foreign players not proficient in English.
8/26/08
 
beisenhauer says:
Professional golf is entertainment. I entirely understand the LPGA wanting it's members to be capable of giving interviews, participating in press conferences, etc. in English. On the other hand, I'm not sure they aren't shooting themselves in the foot. They might as well say to all the up-and-coming, foreign-born players with marginal English, "Go play in Europe or in Asia. We don't want you here."
8/26/08
 
sindigo says:
Hahaha....Eliott Sadler...that's funny!!

I'm not sure where the racism comes in. Perhaps someone can explain that one to me.

As mentioned before, other foreign sport stars manage to do an interview in English. Are you saying that the foreign born LPGA women aren't smart enough to learn English? Hey...that's sexism!! :-)
8/26/08
 
Huckleberry says:
For the record, I agree that it's a questionable rule. I was simply refuting the idea that it is somehow illegal or racist.
8/26/08
 
sindigo says:
According to the article...none of the players affected seemed bothered by the rule. So I see no need to be bothered by it either.
8/26/08
 
ToddRobb says:
I think it's a good idea. They are considered independent contractors, as such, if you hired them to do a job for you, you can stipulate anything you want in your agreement, they would choose to accept the terms or not. The LPGA is fighting to stay on the sports map, it doesn't seem to be that much to ask. I'm not quite sure how or why it would be considered racism, I think it's more of a survival issue. It would be racism if they did it to keep a certain segment of the population off the tour. I certainly don't think that's the case.
8/26/08
 
birdieXris says:
it's an ok rule.
8/26/08
 
kidputter says:
Live and work in my country, speak my language. On the other hand, boxers have translators. On the third hand, if my boss told me to learn a foreign language to keep my job, I'd sue for cultural bias. The debate can go on and on. Once again, F&*K it. Who wants pie?
8/26/08
 
Mr power fade says:
elliot sadler is as white as the get ben you must be thinking about someone else
8/26/08
 
Mr power fade says:
you jus gots to know how to inturpet his suthern speakin
8/26/08
 
PapaJoe says:
How about this?.... If the non-English speaking players on the LPGA tour must learn English, then why shouldn't the Americans and English speaking players have to learn to speak the appropriate language if they play on the European tour or in a tournament in another country, especially in Japan where there seems to be a lot of young American gals getting their "golfing wings"? What's fair is fair! If it becomes a valid rule I agree with "beisenhauer", I think the LPGA will be shooting itself in the foot. Unfair ruling!
8/26/08
 
Ben Crane says:
I said that as a joke Mr power fade
8/26/08
 
ToddRobb says:
hmmm let me see, 1. do I learn to speak a language that will enable me to keep a million dollar a year job for playing a game? 2.Or do I go back to the country where I came from to work at a job that I probably won't like for a fraction of the money?

Sounds like a pretty clear decision to me.

As recreational golfers, we don't look at golf from a business point of view. This is a company (LPGA) that is asking their independent contractors (players), to be able to communicate with the company's customers (us). It's a smart business decision, plus it also benefits the player.
8/26/08
 
ToddRobb says:
beisenhauer, I think it's a bigger problem that you would think the players would not want to learn. Do you really think that the LPGA is trying to keep out foreign players? This is a good thing for everyone involved. The player gets taught a new language that helps them communicate much better. The LPGA maintains their image and branding. We get to actually here what they have to say first hand instead of through an interpreter. win-win-win
8/26/08
 
golfgirl says:
Talk about communication skills!

It was the LPGAs lack thereof that created this whole issue in the first place.

The policy in itself was, I believe, instituted to empower foreign players...to support them and help them in their attempts to learn English so that they could better take advantage of the opportunities presented by American media and American sponsors.

Instead, because it was communicated by the wrong person, in the wrong way it came off as racist and exclusionary.

The LPGA needs a good PR firm immediately. They can feel free to contact me.
8/26/08
 
kenjab says:
There's an ESPN.com column on this topic that brings up a good issue: PRO-AMS. The LPGA makes a large percentage of $$ from pro-am events leading up to the tournament. I bet the tournaments were starting to lose sponsors because amateurs weren't able to communicate with the pros they were paired with.

That said, I can't believe they'll suspend players for not speaking English well enough. Punishment doesn't fit the crime. Institute fines and don't allow them sponsorship or pro-am opportunities if they can't comply with the rule.
8/27/08
 
Josh says:
Why is it racist to ask a person to learn the language of the country in which they are spending the bulk of their time in for their chosen career? This kind of race pandering is what is causing our country to die from the inside.... We should certainly celebrate diversity, etc. but at the same time it's not wrong to expect people to fit into the culture and society through which they are building their career.
8/27/08
 
Kickntrue says:
deadspin.com/5042566/lpga-english+only-policy-he Here come the Lawyers
8/27/08
 
falcon50driver says:
To get an airplane pilot license in any country, you must be fluent in English.. A French pilot was heard to complain "I'm a Frenchman, flying a French airplane , in France. Why must I speak English?" An American told him. "Because the Americans arranged it so that you are not required to speak German"
8/27/08
 
NWGolfgeek says:
There attempt to compare the language requirement as outlined by the LPGA with other sports is not appropriate. Golf is a sport of single participants, not a team sport. A team sport can afford to have some of itGÇÖs players be less than proficient in English simply because you have many more individuals from the team to interview. Golf has one winner, that winner is interviewed and at the moment is the focus of attention.

The LPGAGÇÖs heavy handed method of rolling this out is what should be dealt with, not the language requirement. The LPGA needs to step back, take a deep breath and shut up for now until it can speak in public without embarrassing itself.
8/31/08
 
ToddRobb says:
NW, Exactly!!

Good intentions, bad execution.
9/1/08
 
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