Roy Keane has had many famous utterances throughout his playing, management and subsequent media career. “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” may be the most famous thereof, but, for me, his correct excoriation of the “Prawn Sandwich Brigade”.
Those corrosive pests are in every sport. The suits in Croke Park on an All Ireland weekend that wouldn’t know a football or sliotar from a snooker ball. Or the dufflecoat brigade at the rugby. Complete with hip flask. Or a large percentage of those who attend Flat racing. With their Fedora hats, sports jackets and cream slacks. On a midweek evening.
Turn attention to golf and none other than Donald J. Trump fits the bluffer’s bill perfectly. Yes he plays golf, but so did I for a while. To use a bit of Trump vernacular, you can fact check that. Check with sources in Co Meath Golf Club! Make no mistake about it, his only interest in golf at a serious level is purely financial gain for himself. As anybody living near or aware of his properties in Turnbury or Doonbeg will tell you.
His nefarious, reprehensible behaviour before, during and after the recent Presidential Election – which he lost resoundingly – showed himself to be the selfish, repugnent bully he is. Which is why one could totally understand when figures of influence within the sport expressed serious misgivings about the game being too closely linked with the 45th President.
By now, the images of Rory McIlroy playing a round with the Commander In Chaos has become infamous. The Down man shipped a serious barracking for partaking in the event but – even though the world No. 7 has often not helped himself with his comments and/or actions – in this instance I feel he was in a no-win situation. He got enough stick for being there, but, can you imagine the kerfuffle if he had refused to accommodate the most powerful man in the world.
However, to their immense credit, the PGA have already moved one of this year’s four intended Majors – the PGA Championship – out of a Trump-owned course.
As bold and significant a move as that unquestionably was, perhaps the actions of Bill Belichic were perhaps even more noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful villification of American footballers in particular once Colin Kaepernick took the lead in the Taking The Knee initiative.
It’s doubtful that when the quarter back began to take a knee during the Star Spangled Banner as a form of protest against the violence being perpetrated against the black community and the racist policing of same that he – or anybody – ever considered it would take of to be the life-changing phenomenon it has. Especially when evaluating it alongside the equally commendable Black Lives Matter movement.
Unfortunately, however, as is often the case in these situations, it took a tragedy for the rest of the world to sit up and take notice. Initially, that being the unlawful killing of George Floyd by a Police officer who got off without as much as a wrap on the knuckles and as if that wasn’t horrifying enough, five more people lost their lives as a result of the riots which erupted because of an attempted insurrection by and on behalf of the sitting President of the United States of America.
Obviously the loss of any life in such circumstances and to be deplored but the difference in reaction between the death of somebody of one ethnicity compared to what happens when somebody of another passes on is distressingly instructive. Trump knows his number is up, his relevance, if he ever had any, finished.
Which is why he used sport for his own benefit. Attempting to paint himself in a better light before he skulks off to Florida. By, of all things, presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Belichic, one of the most successful and recognisable faces in affairs of the gridiron. Thankfully though, the New England Patriots coach, like the rest of us, saw through it for what it was – a self-serving attempt to save face and make himself look good before he’s booted into oblivion.