FORT WORTH, Texas – Even though golf is a game that normally avoids serious topics like social injustice, racism and police brutality, its players have been moved to speak out by recent events.
Harold Varner III was the first to address the racial unrest that has swept the country following the death of George Floyd, who was pinned to the ground under a Minneapolis police officer's knee for eight minutes, 46 seconds according to prosecutors.
Tiger Woods also took to social media to speak out against injustice, and this week the PGA Tour has earmarked the 8:46 a.m. tee time at both the Charles Schwab Challenge and the Korn Ferry Tour event at TPC Sawgrass as a tribute to Floyd.
Tony Finau joined the conversation late Tuesday with a post on Instagram after he came to the conclusion that “the worst thing that I could say pertaining to Black Lives Matter, police brutality, and systemic racism is nothing.”
“Have I dealt with racism in my life as a person of color in this country? Yes, I have. I’m not proud to say,” Finau explained. “I’m not proud to say that I have been disrespected and mistreated because of the color of my skin.”
He went on to detail a 2014 incident with police. Finau was in a car with a white friend, who was driving and had “a couple bad tickets with his driving, so he had a warrant out for his arrest.” Both Finau and the driver were asked to get out of the car and Finau asked why.
“Within seconds my face was slammed up against the passenger door, and I was in handcuffs. Shortly after that, I was in the back of [the police] car,” Finau wrote. “To try to describe the feeling of injustice, unfairness at this time, and try to portray that to those who have never been treated this way, it’s a very inhumane feeling and wrong on all levels. And it’s a criminal act for law enforcement to treat anyone this way but especially those of color.”
Finau, who is Polynesian, wrote that watching the video of Floyd being killed by officers rekindled memories of that ’14 incident and compelled him to tell his story.
“I voice my opinion because I stand with those who are for justice, those who are for equality and that are against police brutality and anyone abusing their authority because of the color of someone else’s skin,” he wrote. “I’m against racism, and I’m for Black Lives Matter and this movement.”