It was inevitable. That doesn’t make it any less astonishing.
Last week golf instructor Hank Haney, along with co-host Steve Johnson, made remarks deemed racist and sexist regarding the US Women’s Open on Haney’s eponymous radio show. Haney mockingly predicted “a Korean” would win this week’s event at the Country Club of Charleston, adding he couldn’t name six players on the LPGA Tour save for those with the last name “Lee”.
The outcry was swift, with the LPGA, its stars, golf personalities and fans criticising Haney for his insensitivity. Haney tried to clarify those comments later in the program, saying he couldn’t remember what he said. “I guess people are taking this as racially insensitive,” Haney said. He then apologised “if I offended anyone”. The show ended with Johnson telling Haney he was not a racist, to which Haney replied, “I am definitely not a racist.” Haney later issued a longer apology to Golf Digest and on Twitter.
That acknowledgement was not enough in the eyes of the PGA Tour and SiriusXM. The entities suspended Haney from his program on Thursday, issuing a statement that they were reviewing Haney’s status going forward.
For his part, Haney has been quiet since the suspension… that is, until Jeongeun Lee6 won the US Women’s Open today. That gave Haney all the ammo he needed to fire back at his critics.
My prediction that a Korean woman would be atop the leaderboard at the Women’s US Open was based on statistics and facts. Korean women are absolutely dominating the LPGA Tour. If you asked me again my answer would be the same but worded more carefully.
— Hank Haney (@HankHaney) June 2, 2019
Whatever Haney’s intentions were – vindication, exoneration, self-effacement – the messages received, at best, a mixed reception. Especially given Haney misspelled Lee6’s first name.
Though some offered replies of support and agreement, most deemed Haney’s tweets ignorant and obtuse, with a fair share of responses accusing Haney of unjustifiably taking a victory lap.
Doubling down eh? Bold strategy there Cotton! Let's see how this works….
— TippedCanoe (@TippedCanoe) June 2, 2019
When you definitely meant the apology and absolutely spent the last 72 hours pondering the ways in which your words were both racist and lazily ignorant https://t.co/VZRwBYm95f
— Job Fickett (@jwfickett) June 2, 2019
— 3Wiggle (@WiggleThree) June 2, 2019
You got it right Hank! We’ve got your back, will listen wherever you’re broadcasting.
— Miguel Costelanez (@mjcostel27) June 2, 2019
Wherever one sits on this spectrum, it’s abundantly clear this controversy will not end with Lee6’s triumph in Charleston.