Steve Elkington reportedly claims PGA Tour made him delete offensive Michael Sam tweet
Steve Elkington created a self-inflicted social media firestorm around himself on Monday due to his ill-advised, homophobic and offensive tweet about Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam, who announced that he was gay a few weeks ago.
Elkington, whose best years on the PGA Tour have passed him by, is well-known as something of a rabble-rouser and pot-stirrer on social media, so the fact that he elected to post the above tweet is unsurprising to those familiar with his online antics.
The 51-year-old Australian has since deleted the above tweet and claims that the PGA Tour ordered him to take it down.
Yahoo! Sports’ Shane Bacon reached out to Elkington and reported his findings on Twitter:
I reached out to Steve Elkington about the controversial tweets he deleted. He told me, “tour asked me to.”
— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) February 25, 2014
Subsequent tweets (which were also deleted) from Elkington, after he found himself in the middle of a rapidly escalating controversy, attempted to defend and clarify his online remarks about Sam. Devil Ball Golf provides a good rundown.
Elkington tried, in successive tweets, to “clarify” his remarks, saying that “ESPN covering Michael Sam as a gay athlete is embarrassing,” and, in a tweet directed at Bacon, that “I’m for Sam I’m against ESPN telling me he’s gay.” He later used some unfortunate phraseology in trying to make a “we’re all equal” point, all sic’d: “It goes back to ‘a ball hit an oriental spectator’.There’s no oriental spectators..There just spectators..’like m Sam…He’s just an athlete.” (Steve, “Oriental” hasn’t been used to describe people of Asian descent for decades.)
And for what it’s worth, the tweet about “Oriental” spectators? Elkington, abundantly demonstrating his overall ignorance regarding, well, everything, in particular the preferred nomenclature (in the parlance of our times), has left that tweet up:
It goes back to “a ball hit an oriental spectator”.There’s no oriental spectators..There just spectators..”like m Sam…He’s just an athlete
— Steve Elkington (@elkpga) February 25, 2014
Apparently, he finds nothing wrong with that commentary. Not good.
The PGA Tour has released a statement addressing the controversy, albeit in a somewhat sidestepping, avoiding manner (via Eye on Golf):
“Under our regulations, conduct unbecoming a professional includes public commentary that is clearly inappropriate or offensive. With respect to this matter, and consistent with our longstanding policy, we do not comment on player disciplinary matters.”