Reebok dropped Rick Ross over rap lyrics, should Sergio Garcia’s dumbazz comments cost him a $5 milli a year endorsement deal with TaylorMade-Adidas?
Via NYPost reports:
A contrite Sergio Garcia sat before reporters in a hastily convened press conference yesterday in England and issued a public apology for racially insensitive comments he made about Tiger Woods at a European Tour awards dinner the night before.
Garcia, whose feud with Woods became highly public and seemed to reach a boiling point two weeks ago when they clashed at The Players Championship, was jokingly asked at the dinner if he would invite Woods for dinner during the U.S. Open.
In an attempt to deliver a funny response, Garcia said, “We will have him ’round every night. We will serve fried chicken.”
The remark ignited a firestorm because of its racist connotations and led to Garcia’s apology.
What kind of financial backlash ensues for Garcia is yet to be known, but his most prominent and highest-paying sponsor is TaylorMade-adidas Golf, and the company issued a rather open-ended statement that left the petulant Spaniard hanging.
“Sergio Garcia’s recent comment was offensive and in no way aligns with TaylorMade-adidas Golf’s values and corporate culture,’’ the statement read. “We have spoken with Sergio directly and he clearly has regret for his statement and we believe he is sincere. We discussed with Sergio that his comments are clearly out of bounds and we are continuing to review the matter.’’
A TaylorMade source told The Post that Garcia earns slightly more than $5 million per year in his endorsement contract. Asked how “continuing to review the matter’’ should be interpreted, the source said it is possible the company would make a more definitive statement “by the end of the week.’’
The source, echoing what much of the sentiment around golf is, said, “[Garcia] says stupid things sometimes, but he is not racist. He’s just dumb sometimes, not a bad guy.’’
Garcia attempted to back up that notion with his profuse apology at Wentworth, where he is playing in the BMW PGA Championship.
“To start with … I didn’t mean to offend anyone,’’ Garcia said. “I obviously was caught off-guard by the question, but I understand that my answer was totally stupid and out of place. I can’t say sorry enough about that.
“I’d also like to say sorry to the European Tour and my Ryder Cup teammates for taking the shine away from what was a wonderful players’ awards dinner that we all thoroughly enjoyed until that moment.
“Obviously, finally and most importantly I want to apologize to Tiger and anybody that I could have offended by the comment that I made and just say that I feel sick about it and I’m truly, truly sorry and I hope that we can kind of settle things down and hopefully move on.’’
Garcia said he reached out to Woods via his agent, Mark Steinberg, to apologize in person. “I don’t have [Woods’] phone number’’ and Steinberg “didn’t pick up.’’
Garcia insisted that his remark “wasn’t meant’’ to have any racial implications.
“As soon as I left the dinner, I started getting a sick feeling in my body,” he said. “I didn’t sleep at all last night, felt like my heart was going to come out of my body. I’ve had this sick feeling all day. Unfortunately, I said it. I wish I didn’t do it, but the only thing I can do is say sorry.’’
Garcia said he was not aware of the similarly insensitive Fuzzy Zoeller comments made about Woods at the 1997 Masters (when Garcia was 17) until he was informed yesterday.
After Woods won the Masters in 1997, Zoeller said, “You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not serve fried chicken next year [at the annual champion’s dinner]. Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.”
In that fallout, Zoeller immediately lost his highest paying endorsement contract (K-Mart) and was skewered so severely that his career was never the same again.
The next time Garcia and Woods will play in the same tournament together will be at the U.S. Open next month at Merion.
The difference is that Rick Ross failed to apologize — Sergio seems to be remorseful, but is it only because of the repercussions?
What do you think TaylorMade should do?