The National Black Justice Coalition, a Black LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, is protesting the recent election reform bill that Governor Brian Kemp signed into law last week. The bill requires voters to present identification to obtain absentee ballots, reduces the number of ballot drop-off boxes, prohibits handing out food and water to voters in line and allows state officials to take over local elections boards if fraud is suspected.
At the signing of the bill, Kemp said he foresaw push-back. Several dozen protesters catcalled the Governor at the signing ceremony, at one point causing the live feed to be cut off.
Later, a protesting Georgia legislator, Democrat Park Cannon of the 58th district, was arrested and escorted from the Capitol for allegedly banging her fists on the governor’s office door.
President Joe Biden was the first national figure to push back against the bill calling it “sick” and branding it a return to the Jim Crow era in Georgia when the Black vote was suppressed by the state.
Now, the NBJC is taking its protest over the election law in a new direction: its target is the game of golf.
In a statement, the NBJC says they are “calling on the PGA Tour and Masters Tournament to pull the upcoming championship event from the Augusta National Golf Course. NBJC is also urging professional golfers to refuse to play in Georgia until SB 202 is repealed.”
Golfweek magazine may have given the group national attention over their boycott, but it is not likely going to provoke a response from the Augusta National Golf Club if history is any guide.
The fiercely private Augusta National has never sought to be a politically engaged organization. They are also known very well for not bowing to criticism. People have found out in the past that one can’t just “cancel” the Augusta National.
In 2003, The chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, Martha Burk, threatened protests during tournament week if Augusta National did not drop its “men only” policy. The national media gave her the spotlight, and she appeared almost daily on the news decrying the “sexism” of the Augusta National.
Suddenly, the national conversation turned to a debate over whether private clubs should be allowed to remain private.
The Augusta National’s response was simply to pull the plug on advertisements airing during the tournament, a move that effectively hobbled the very media companies that had promoted Burk and her narrative.
It was reported at the time that there were more media people in attendance to Burk’s protest than there were actual protestors. The scheme to get Augusta National to give in to what was obviously manufactured public outrage exploded in the organizers’ faces.
Meanwhile, the Masters tournament went on that year as usual with happy patrons munching on pimento cheese sandwiches while watching Mike Weir clinch the coveted Green Jacket. That same year the Augusta National, through its CSRA Community Foundation gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to local charities, as they have done annually now for 25 years.
The Masters Tournament has survived ice storm damage, a pandemic and to date has only been canceled because of a world war.
The cancel culture mentality may have successfully toppled Sharon Osbourne from her television show “The Talk,” but by comparison, that fight was in the minor leagues. In challenging the Augusta National, the protesters are not going up against the likes of Ozzy Osbourne’s wife; they are going up against a corporate Joan Rivers.
The Augusta National is an institution that isn’t going to be “canceled.”