ESPN’s Max Kellerman said Monday on “First Take” that Tiger Woods’ response to questions about President Trump made him “angry.”
Woods was asked after the final round of The Northern Trust on Sunday about his relationship with Trump and he urged people to respect the office of the president.
“He's the president of the United States. You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office,” he said.
Kellerman blasted Woods’ remarks, saying it was a “thoughtless statement dressed up as a thoughtful statement.”
“And it either holds in contempt the intelligence of people who hear it or else it’s just a stupid thing to say. … To say you must have respect for the office — Tiger, be clear. Are you saying that the office, therefore, confers respect onto its present temporary occupant? No. Having respect for the office means principally, in my view, is the office holder should have respect for the office,” he said.
The co-host continued: “We are held to a standard of behavior, we at our jobs, right, people in their daily lives. The president, if anything, is held to a higher standard of behavior. It is not such that we have such great respect for the office that no matter what the behavior of its occupant, we must respect the occupant because of the office. No. Tiger Woods … is being slick. We must respect the office therefore that confers respect to the occupant. Tiger, is that is what you are saying? If that is what you are saying, that is a stupid comment.”
Trump and Woods have been golfing partners for years and have remained in touch since Trump took office.
“Well, I’ve known Donald for a number of years,” Woods said. “We've played golf together. We've had dinner together. I've known him pre-presidency and obviously during his presidency.”
The golf star was then asked to comment about race relations in the country, which he declined to do.
“No. I just finished 72 holes and (am) really hungry,” Woods said and moved on to questions that were relevant to his performance at the tournament that day.
This wasn't the first time that ESPN has been caught in the middle of political opinions offered by liberal hosts and anchors. The network has been accused of spending too much time covering Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the National Anthem and was criticized for awarding the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to Caitlyn Jenner.
In addition, struggling morning show “Get Up!” was in trouble before it even debuted after a feature in The Hollywood Reporter headlined “ESPN Plans to Wake up Woke with New Morning Show” implied that the show would dabble in politics. ESPN insiders were fuming at the story’s headline, and to its credit, “Get Up!” has avoided political headlines. However, soon-to-be-former co-host Michelle Beadle – an outspoken feminist – was recently reassigned. Last week Beadle declared that she was finished watching football because of the way the NFL and NCAA have responded to domestic violence controversies. She will now focus on NBA coverage.
Last year, ESPN star Jemele Hill famously called President Trump a “white supremacist” on Twitter and was eventually re-assigned. In September 2017, Hill tweeted, “Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has surrounded himself with other white supremacists.” Hill also called Trump a “bigot” and “unqualified and unfit to be president.” She added, “If he were not white, he never would have been elected.”
Hill’s anti-Trump comments caught the attention of the White House and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who said she considered the rhetoric a “fireable offense.” Trump even got involved himself, mocking Hill and ESPN’s lackluster ratings.
A buyout of Hill’s reported $2.5 million-per-year contract has been completed and her last day will be Friday, sources told the New York Post.
Fox News’ Brian Flood and Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.