South Africa’s greatest ever sportsman, Gary Player, has come in for stinging criticism for accepting the US Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump last Thursday.
And the most vocal opponent of 85-year-old Player’s decision to accept the award is his own son, Marc.
I really wish my father would have simply & politely declined this “award” at this time, from this man. Tone deaf. In denial. Wrong!, Marc Player tweeted ahead of the ceremony at the White House.
Marc Player added that he had “implored his father not to accept the medal, but my pleas, particularly after Trump’s role in the horrific invasion of Capitol Hill, went unheeded.”
DONALD TRUMP AND GARY PLAYER ARE GOOD FRIENDS
Trump and Gary Player are reported to be good friends, both on and off the golf course. Player is one of only 51 people and organisations Trump follows on Twitter.
Or ‘followed’ before his social media access was revoked.
This isn’t the first time Player and his son have publicly butted heads.
“It is with great sadness that both my personal and business relationship with my father has deteriorated to the extent that it has,” said Marc in June 2020 after an ownership and naming rights dispute between Gary Player and the Gary Player Group, his company operated by Marc.
Gary Player received the award among with Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, while Babe Didrikson Zaharias received the award posthumously.
The trio joined Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Charlie Sifford and Tiger Woods as the only golfers who have received the nation’s highest civilian honour.
The award is given to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the security or national interests of America, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
Other notable recipients include among others, Muhammad Ali, Nancy Reagan, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King jnr.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday it was confirmed that legendary New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick had turned down the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Marc Player once again took to Twitter to write in response, that: “This is what I wished my father @garyplayer would have done and what I strongly urge him still to do. It’s not too late to simply return it with gratitude & retain some honor, dignity and self respect.”
Gary Player, usually vocal on social media, hasn’t taken to Twitter since prior to his accepting the medal.