September 8, 2008, - 9:53 am

Backtrack: LPGA Tour Backs Off English-Only Policy; Pressure from State Farm Insurance

By Debbie Schlussel
You knew this was coming. After I initially applauded the group, the apparently spineless LPGA Tour is backing off its tough English-only policy, after whining from sponsor State Farm Insurance and multi-lingual activists. Gone are the planned suspensions of those who can’t speak our language.
I warned that they would start screaming. And they did. What I specifically underestimated was the power of Korean activist groups (the largest group of foreigners and non-English spakers in the LPGA Tour are South Korean).
Yup, now Lesbians in abundant attendance at the Dinah Shore Classic can speak in any language they want, especially if they are competing on the green:

Facing anger from lawmakers and bewilderment from sponsors, the LPGA Tour backed off plans to suspend players who cannot speak English well enough to be understood at pro-ams, in interviews or in making acceptance speeches at tournaments in the United States. . . .


LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens said she would have a revised plan by the end of the year that would not include suspensions, although fining non-English speakers remains an option.
“We have decided to rescind those penalty provisions,” Bivens said in a statement. “After hearing the concerns, we believe there are other ways to achieve our shared objective of supporting and enhancing the business opportunities for every tour player.”
Bivens disclosed the tour’s original plan in a meeting with South Korean players two weeks ago at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., Golfweek magazine reported. The policy, which had not been written, was widely criticized as discriminatory, particularly against Asian players.
The LPGA membership includes 121 international players from 26 countries, including 45 from South Korea. Asians won three of the four majors this year.
The reversal was quickly hailed by two California lawmakers who challenged the original policy.
State Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, had asked the Legislature’s legal office to determine whether the English policy violated state or federal anti-discrimination laws. If it was deemed legal, Yee said he would have pushed for legislation banning such policies in California.
The LPGA Tour plays three events in California, including its first major championship. . . .
State Assemblyman Ted Lieu, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area, said he would target corporate sponsors if the LPGA Tour persisted with its English requirement. . . .
Bivens’ announcement came two hours before the Asian Pacific American Legal Center planned a news conference in Los Angeles to demand the LPGA overturn its policy.
“Until they completely retract it, issue an apology to the players and the fans, I think we’ll remain very concerned and interested in what happens,” said Gerald D. Kim, a senior staff attorney for the center. “The LPGA has gone about this totally the wrong way.”
One of the tour’s title sponsors, State Farm, said it was perplexed by the original policy. State Farm spokesman Phil Supple said earlier Friday the company asked the tour to review its decision.
Contacted via e-mail when the policy was rescinded, Supple said: “We’re encouraged the LPGA is looking at other alternatives on this issue.” . . .
Earlier this week, Bivens sent a 1,200-word memo to the LPGA membership to outline the goal behind the new policy. She said players would never be required to be fluent or even proficient in English, but rather would be asked to get by with the basics of the language.
She argued that international players who could communicate effectively in English would improve the pro-am experience, sponsor relations and could help land endorsements for the players.
“We do not, nor will we ever, demand English fluency, or even proficiency, from our international players,” she wrote. “To the contrary, we are asking that they demonstrate a basic level of communication in English at tournaments in the United States in situations that are essential to their job as a member of the LPGA Tour.”
[Lawmaker Yee] said he will continue with his request to the Legislative Counsel’s Office, as a way to prevent similar policies in the future.
Grace E. Yoo, executive director of the Korean American Coalition in Los Angeles, said . . . “We have a long fight ahead of us,” Yoo said. “This is not over.”

It is, as far as English is concerned. I guess those American viewers weren’t so important after all. Who are the customers of State Farm Insurance? It’s a good bet a significant chunk of them are illegal aliens, based on the way the organization pressured the LPGA Tour.
Regardless of whether he is alive or dead, Kim Jong-Il would be proud.
**** UPDATE: Reader Alex notes that one of the above-named opponents of the now-dumped LPGA English Only policy, California State Senator Leland Yee might not like English, but he has shown a penchant for prostitutes and shoplifting.

One Response

Debbie, little known secret outside of California, there are over 300,000 illegal Koreans living in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Because of rising tensions with North Korea another trend that is occurring is mothers flying pregnant to California in upscale neighborhoods to have babies. South Korea requires enlistment in military upon 18 years of age. This gives them American citizenship without having to defend their Korean homeland.
In Los Angeles and Orange counties it is common for many Koreans to speak Spanish so they can hire their illegal workers. So Korean illegals exploiting Mexican illegals. I guess to hell with learning English. Flop House Nation.

californiascreaming on September 8, 2008 at 5:37 pm

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