- Robert Gorski's letter responding to column by Jeff Jacoby critical
of the ADA was published by his local paper in Pasadena:
In a syndicated column, Jeff Jacoby of
the Boston Globe wrote how the Americans with Disabilities Act "handicaps
normal society." . . . .
In Jacoby's column, Casey Martin, the professional golfer who wanted
to use a golf cart during PGA tournaments (and who sued under the ADA and
won - ed.) earned Jacoby's condemnation. Jacoby agreed that the PGA was
wrong to refuse the cart request, but felt that Martin using the ADA and
suing the PGA was "bad sportsmanship."
Apparently Jacoby is miffed that Martin did not follow the lead of African
Americans who waited patiently for the PGA to admit people of color to
tournaments. After decades of sportsmanlike patience, today Tiger Woods
is not merely accepted but actually embraced. I guess in Jacoby's view
women also illustrate proper conduct. Remember how they waited patiently
for decades to get equal coaching and equipment in high school and college?
Some people say that American women winning the gold medal in Olympic
hockey was partially due to a 1980 law requiring equal funding for male
and female sports programs in schools. But I imagine Jacoby feels the achievements
of women athletes in hockey and elsewhere occur in spite of dreadful federal
meddling with sportsmanship.
Of course, Jacoby's view is poppycock. Women, blacks and others fought
and suffered to get through the "sports" door just like other
doors. And when available, the law was used to obtain justice. I recall
a woman reporter suing in order to be able to join her male colleagues
in locker-room interviews. At the time, some people thought this was a
terrible use of the law; that it would demean sports; that it would ruin
- in Jacoby's words - "normal society."
Jacoby's "normal society" is one in which white able-bodied
males run the show and allow privileges to the less advantaged at the sedate
pace that is the proud hallmark of golf. Where bias and discrimination
exist, the should be peeled away with the measured gentility of tapping
in a ten-inch putt. To do otherwise damages society.
That is a wonderful approach to life - unless you're not white, male
and able-bodied. Then you believe that it was the PGA, not the disabled
golfer, who was guilty of discrimination and bad sportsmanship.
Robert Gorski, Pasadena, CA.