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Be careful where you step, readers

Florida reader saddles up Mike Purkey for a ride along that dusty trail toward logical thought regarding the Justin Thomas caper

Gee, how can I phrase this? Mike Purkey’s article reminded me of what a horse leaves in a pasture (“Justin Thomas incident puts all golfers on notice,” Jan. 22).

First of all, there is the charge that Justin Thomas "spewed a homophobic slur.” I think muttered is a better word. I listened to that video a half-dozen times before I could make it out. And apparently with all the other anecdotes about chronic users of profanities and obscenities, there was no evidence that Thomas was one of them. This seems to be just a one-off incident caused by frustration in a high-stress situation. And yet there are those who want to brand him for life because of it.

Purkey's solution is just not to use that kind of language, which he was able to do for one whole round. Kudos. Tell me, Mike, after that one round, was there ever a time when you might have used a phrase significantly stronger than, Dang it, Mike? Maybe when you left a 6-foot putt for par a good 6 inches short? Sure, you said it under your breath, and perhaps no one heard you, but how about assessing a two-stroke penalty against yourself for even thinking the words? After all, even thinking it makes you a bad person, or so we have been told.

Yes, it would be best if all of us could eliminate use of these words all the time. But realistically, that's not going to happen. The real issue is that for too many people, the use of these expletives is too common in their everyday conversations. I think if all of us can do better most of the time, then such an incident as what Thomas said can be better put in context of who he is.

Mark Liquorman
Land O’ Lakes, Fla.

Words matter
It seems that many of Morning Read’s readers are missing the point with regard to Justin Thomas’ outburst (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 19, Jan. 20, Jan. 22).

My tender ears are not offended by the swear word that begins with “f” anymore; that is commonplace in conversations everywhere, and is now even being printed in transcriptions of conversations. It may be vulgar, but it’s not the same as a slur.

However, I am offended by anyone who uses derogatory terms to demean any segment of society, even if used as a modern-day swear word. Where do you draw the line? Is it OK to use the “n” word if you apologize afterward? How about spouting off debasing terms for women, or Asians, or transgender people? If you use those words, do you expect anyone to believe “that’s not who you are”? 

Of course it’s who you are. If it weren’t, those words would not be in your vocabulary – public or private – because they wouldn’t be in your head. You can apologize for what comes out of your mouth, but until you clean up what’s in your head, I don’t believe you.  

Justin Thomas is unfit to be a role model, and I, for one, am disappointed by that.

Patricia Dixon
London

Forward thinking
I long ago gave up under-my-breath, self-deprecating comments after I hit a bad shot, because all it did was prolong the negativity, which is not helpful (“Justin Thomas incident puts all golfers on notice,” Jan. 22).

I know my technique well enough so that when I hit a bad shot, I know what went wrong. My mind goes toward what the right thing to do is, so the next time I have to make that stroke, it will be a good one. 

Focus on the repair job ahead, not on the mistake that is now in the past and can’t be changed. 

In a nutshell, you wouldn’t speak poorly to one of your playing partners, so why would you talk like that to yourself?

Bob Jones
Salem, Ore.

An economic undressing of Ralph Lauren
Justin Thomas slipped up. So what? Have a seven-second delay, or better yet, leave these guys alone out there. Players beat themselves up without Mike Purkey piling on (“Justin Thomas incident puts all golfers on notice,” Jan. 22).

I never will buy another Ralph Lauren shirt, belt or underwear. Is this the way we are going to go?

I also know that Mike Purkey has heard a lot worse than that if he is a low-handicapper, as he claims. 

Mills Rendell
Winnetka, Ill.

In favor of reason
Kudos to reader Jim Westerman for one of the most insightful and balanced letters published on these pages (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 22).

In his treatment of Justin Thomas paying the price for his inappropriate slur, Westerman managed successfully to capture and navigate the spectrum of difficulty that we as a society have in trying to deal with our sociopolitical problems and reforms.

Readers should examine this kind of reply and perhaps learn a lesson on how to think their way through a “third-rail” issue and find the strength to take a reasoned position without inserting unnecessary biases.

Steven Lapper
Far Hills, N.J.
(Lapper is a co-owner of Fox Hollow Golf Club in Branchburg, N.J.)

Miceli finally gets it right
In his birthday tribute to Jack Nicklaus, Alex Miceli finally has written a column with which I wholeheartedly agree (“Jack Nicklaus, golf’s greatest champion, turns 81,” Jan. 21).

It’s nothing short of a miracle, and I am delighted that Miceli finally got something right. Great tribute to the greatest ever.

Judith Bradt
Montgomery, Texas

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