HolyCoast: Brits Having "Spaz" Attack Over Tiger Woods

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Brits Having "Spaz" Attack Over Tiger Woods

Some Brits are a bit perturbed over a story that came out this weekend at the Masters involving Tiger Woods (h/t Rush):

Tiger Woods has expressed his regret for saying he putted like "a spaz" during the final round of the US Masters. Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey Thompson had joined representatives from the Disability Rights Commission and cerebral palsy charity Scope in condemning the American.

Woods, who lost his title at Augusta to Phil Mickelson, had said: "I putted atrociously today. Once I got on the greens I was a spaz." However tonight, his spokesman Mark Steinberg said: "Tiger meant nothing derogatory to any person or persons and apologises for any offence caused."

Thompson feared his off-the-cuff use of the term was more likely to be copied because the golfer was seen as a respectable character. "My worry is people and youngsters seeing that someone like Tiger Woods is using this kind of terminology," she said. "If they think it's OK for him to use it, then do they think it's OK for them to use it as well?"

The 11-time Paralympic gold medal winner acknowledged the word may be considered less offensive in the United States than it is in England, a point also recognised by Scope. Previously known as The Spastics Society, Scope only changed its name in 1994 after being lobbied by disability groups who felt the word had become offensive.

C'mon folks, have we nothing better to do? In another article from the British media, I was informed of what they consider the 10 worst words. You may find some surprises:
1. Retard
2. Spastic
3. Window-licker
4. Mong
5. Special
6. Brave
7. Cripple
8. Psycho
9. Handicapped
10. Wheelchair-bound
If you're not sure what some of these slang terms mean, you can try the Urban Dictionary. Don't expect much political correctness.

Meanwhile, the Aussies are also put out by the fact that some of the media chose to edit Tiger's remarks rather than report the "spaz" comment:
But even more remarkable than that was the way in which a number of major US media outlets then dropped the word "spaz" from their reporting of the final day. The interview was carried on US television network CBS, and on Channel Nine's broadcast in Australia.

But print outlets Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe all ran reports from which "spaz" had been excised. The Los Angeles Times sidestepped the issue by forcing Tiger to say, "It was frustrating because I felt so in control of my golf ball from tee to green, then when I got on the green, I was a (wreck)."

Just two US sports news services ran his words in unedited form.

In Australia, AAP's first report included the word "spaz", but it was removed from later reports.

AFP, meanwhile, adopted the elliptical solution: "I felt so much control on my ball from tee to green, but when I got on the green … I absolutely putted so bad."

Last night a spokeswoman for the Australian Spastic Centre said, "There's no doubt that it is disappointing to hear a role model of Tiger Woods' profile choose these words. I'm sure it was just an unguarded moment, and that he didn't mean any offence by it, but at the same time one would imagine he regrets saying it."
I seriously doubt that Tiger meant to hurt anyone's feelings and was simply expressing in his own way how out of control he felt on the greens. We've all had our "spaz" moments, and I'm sure anyone hearing that remark could immediately understand what he was trying to say.

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