Tiger Woods On Hot Seat For "Spaz" Comment
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 14, 2006
LONDON, ENGLAND--Tiger Woods has apologized for an offhand remark he made that offended many people, particular in the United Kingdom.
"I putted atrociously today. Once I got on the greens I was a spaz," the 29-year-old golf professional told BBC Radio after scoring in third place at Sunday's Augusta National US Masters Tournament.
The word "spaz", short for "spastic", is a considered a derogatory term to many people, especially those with cerebral palsy.
British disability groups were quick to point out Woods' mistake.
A spokesperson for the cerebral palsy organization Scope, which changed its name from 'The Spastics Society' in 1994, said: "Tiger Woods has demonstrated, as George Bernard Shaw said, that 'England and America are two countries divided by a common language'. Although in the U.S. the term 'spaz' may not be as offensive as it is in the UK, many disabled people here will have taken exception to likening his poor golf stroke to that of 'a spaz'."
A representative from the Disability Rights Commission said: "Tiger Woods is a role model for young people around the world and has smashed through prejudice to achieve on the international stage. He will no doubt regret that his words may compound the prejudice that so many of his disabled fans face."
Paralympian Dame Tanni Grey Thompson told BBC Radio: "My worry is people and youngsters seeing that someone like Tiger Woods is using this kind of terminology. 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?"
"I don't think he meant to be offensive but nobody in his position should be saying it," she added. "I bet he won't say it again."
By Tuesday night, Woods' spokesman Mark Steinberg had said: "Tiger meant nothing derogatory to any person or persons and apologizes for any offense caused."
"Woods criticised for 'spaz' remark" (The Guardian)
"The s-word" (BBC Ouch!)
"Tanni criticises 'stupid' Tiger" (BBC News)