Harold Varner III joined countless others in the sports world on Monday when he spoke out about George Floyd’s death and the widespread protests and riots that have followed.
Varner is one of just two African Americans inside the top-200 of the Official World Golf Rankings. He’s currently No. 124 in the rankings, which have since been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The other is Tiger Woods.
Varner put out a two-page statement on social media on Monday afternoon, one week after Floyd was killed and video of his arrest — which showed a Minneapolis police officer with his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than seven minutes while he yelled out, “I can’t breathe” — went viral.
There is a lot of of beauty and love in this world. I pray for equality & social justice as we all so desperately deserve that in this day and age. I pray for humanity even more because regardless of color, WE need each other to make that change. Stay safe. Love you guys ✊🏿✊🏽✊🏻 pic.twitter.com/LrFEff94IF— Harold Varner III (@HV3_Golf) June 1, 2020
“To whoever wants to listen, I have so much that I want to say,” Varner wrote, in part. “Matter of fact, I’ve received more messages than ever before, mostly from people who wanted me to speak up immediately because of who I am. I AM BLACK. But it’s not helpful to anyone when impulsive, passionate reaction takes precedence over clear-minded thought. Yes, I’m angry. But I needed the time to put pen to paper and give y’all a proper message. So let’s go.
“Here’s the obvious: George Floyd should still be alive. Absolutely. No doubt. End of story. This was a senseless killing—a murder—and, to me, it was evil incarnate.
“There are objective truths in life. I think that’s one of them. But life is more nuanced than just a simple statement, and if there’s one thing that is emblematic of today’s society, I think it’s that we constrict ourselves to single-minded thought. It’s easy to do. But that ain’t life. You can be against a cop savagely killing a man and also have the perspective to say that burning businesses and police stations is wrong. You may say one is more or less severe than the other, but there again we must allow ourselves to go beyond this one-or-the-other mentality. Otherwise, we get stuck. We lose direction. Sadly, I think the media exacerbate the situation—with whatever motives they have—by implicating one side of a complex story. I will never denounce an entire race or group based off of a singular incident. I cannot justify that. Yes, the cop acted in the most horrific of ways. No, not all cops are like that. Yes, people are rightly angry. No, we don’t need to loot to make our point. In my heart, I know we’re a good country filled with good people. It’s time we start recognizing that.”
I learned 75 percent of all this in preschool
The 29-year-old has yet to grab a win in his five years on Tour, but has come close several times. He had three top-10 finishes last season, including a T3 finish at The Northern Trust, and has finished in the top-10 four times already this season.
He is among the first in the golf world to speak out after Floyd was killed. Max Homa released an audio message on his Twitter account on Monday, too.
Homa, though, touched on a slightly different but related topic — one that he, as a young, white, professional golfer, felt more equipped to do.
I’m a 29 year old white dude who has played golf his entire life and knows nearly nothing about what it feels like to be oppressed, discriminated against, or unsafe. So I spoke on what I do know and that’s being a nice and respectful person. pic.twitter.com/CEHKscIlEQ— max homa (@maxhoma23) June 1, 2020
“I don’t know the avenue to fix this,” Homa said, in part. “But I do know calling someone an idiot, saying they’re stupid, making fun of them for their belief or their vision or how they feel, that’s mean. That’s it. It’s so simple. That’s just mean.
“So don’t be mean. Think, maybe take a step back, process, empathize, do something … and if you don’t agree, don’t agree. Go away. I literally think I learned 75 percent of all this in preschool.”
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