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In the Crossfire

Teed-off at Tiger over clubs

(CNN) -- Some women's groups are teed-off at Tiger Woods for not speaking out against golf clubs that bar female members. While competing at this week's British Open in Muirfield, Scotland, Woods has been criticized for not taking a stance against the male-only clubs that host professional tournaments. Augusta National, which owns the Masters Championship, does not have any women as members and the British Open is being held at a course where women aren't even allowed in the clubhouse.

Should golf's top pro be responsible for championing this cause or is he getting a bad rap? Should clubs that bar women be forced to open their doors? New York radio talk show host Steve Malzberg and defense attorney Gloria Allred take opposite sides on this issue. They step into the "Crossfire" with hosts James Carville and Tucker Carlson.

CARLSON: Gloria Allred, thanks for joining us. Now, of all the things that annoy me about the story, and there are -- let me count the ways -- I think first on the list would be the way poor Tiger Woods is being treated.

I want to read from an editorial that ran on Thursday, this morning in the Miami Herald. Here it is. This gets right to the point of what's annoying about this.

"There's an implication that athletes of color have a greater social imperative on this point, as if any African-American athlete unwilling to march arm-in-arm with Al Sharpton has rebuked his moral duty."

So why -- I mean the guy is a golfer. I mean, why should he have to get up and embrace some fashionable social cause just because you agree with it? Why don't you just leave him alone?

ALLRED: Well, actually equal opportunity for women and for girls is public policy in the United States, and if it's a fashionable social cause I'm glad, because I don't think that women should be shut out, barred, excluded from an opportunity like playing golf simply because they are female.

And I think Tiger Woods, like everybody else, has a duty to stand up and speak out and say that they are not going to play at a club that discriminates against women or discriminates against minorities.

CARLSON: Oh, is that right, Gloria Allred? I wonder then why you are not making the same demand of Jack Nicklaus? I'll tell you why, because Tiger Woods is black, or he appears to be. You are making what is essentially a racist assumption. He is black, therefore he has an obligation to stand up against injustice as you see it. Why don't -- again, why don't you leave the guy alone? It's not his fault that they have this policy at the club.

ALLRED: Well, I guess, Tucker, you didn't hear me, because I said that each of us, every person in this country, has a duty, I believe, to speak out.

I, as a person who is Caucasian, I think, should speak out if I see minorities, African-Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos or Latinas excluded simply because of their race or their ethnic origin or their gender.

We all have that duty, and he is in unique position as a privileged person, as a person who has power, fame, money and the bully pulpit to say that look, this is wrong. I'm going to agree with the PGA, which says that any club that hosts a tournament should have a nondiscriminatory policy toward women and minorities.

CARVILLE: Do you agree with the PGA policy that it's a good idea if they are going to host a golf tournament, then they ought to let women and men, everybody anybody in them?

MALZBERG: Well, look, Gloria's whole premise is so flawed. It's almost comical. The fact of the matter is they are not denying women a chance to play golf. I mean, where is their constitutional right to play golf at that club?

Here is -- this is an example of what they call -- they're claiming discrimination against women. And it cheapens the word, just as many times Al Sharpton and these racism events that he claims cheapens the word racism, and when it really happens, it's unfortunate and it cheapens the whole event at the time when it's real.

Here you don't have somebody, you don't have women or minorities or Jews being turned down and deprived education, a place to live, credit. All you have is a private club of men saying they want to remain a private club of men. There is no hatred for women here, the way there was and is in some clubs where they don't allow Jews or blacks.

There is no evil intent here, and furthermore, once a woman gets into one of these clubs, Gloria will be the first one calling that woman up to represent her to say anything at that club offends you, because we will sue! And that's what it's all about.

CARVILLE: Gloria, this guy came at you pretty hard. You can defend yourself, go ahead. He tried to hit you from every side.

ALLRED: First of all, you know, I have many more people calling me to represent them, and I don't call people to represent them. Having said that, I have sued golf clubs where women have been members, where women have not been given equal access to the golf course. They have not been given equal rights in terms of tee time. They've been given less advantageous tee times. They haven't been given enough time or equal time with men on the golf course. Yes, I think it's important that women have equal rights. I will continue to stand up for equal rights.

CARLSON: Well, amen, Gloria.




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