South African golfing legend Gary Player is under fire for accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump, a day after the President’s supporters stormed the US Capitol last week. Many people, including Player’s son Marc, urged him not to accept the award, Sport24 reported. The debacle has also revived criticism of the 85-year-old golfer: he was close to the apartheid regime and defended it on several occasions. In his 1966 book, Grand Slam Golf, he wrote: “I must say now, and clearly, that I am of the South Africa of [Hendrik] Verwoerd and apartheid” before going on to praise how civilised white South Africans were among “alien barbarians” – i.e. Africans who “practise ritual murder and polygamy”. Yeesh. He later condemned apartheid, saying the regime had “pulled the wool over our eyes” but with a history like that, he’s got to do a lot more to make amends. Getting awards from Trump ain’t it.
This brief was originally published in The Wrap here.