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Bryant Gumbel

Bryant Gumbel

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-- Jim Brown, the Hall of Fame Cleveland Browns running back, once was ordered by a judge in 1999 to undergo special counseling for domestic battering when he was convicted of smashing the windshield of his then 25-year-old wife's car.

These days, apparently, he prefers to bash Tiger Woods.

In a recent segment on HBO's Real Sports, Brown appeared with former Boston Celtics great Bill Russell in an interview with host Bryant Gumbel.

At one point, the subject under discussion was the role prominent African-American athletes should be taking in helping to tackle problems affecting the black community, particularly in stemming violence among young people.

Tiger Woods: 'I think I do a pretty good job ...

with the [Tiger Woods] Foundation.' (Getty Images) That's when Brown got on his own shaky soapbox.

"There are one or two individuals in this country that are black that have been put in front of us as an example," he said.

"But they're under a system that says 'hey, they're not going to do a certain thing.' That disappoints me because I know they know better ...

I know they can do better without hurting themselves." At that point Gumbel asked, "Tiger and Michael [Jordan]?" "Yeah, I know they both know better, OK," Brown said.

"And I know they both can do better without hurting themselves." Later in the broadcast, Brown took another heavy shot at Woods.

"If it was just a matter of me looking at an individual that's a monster competitor, this cat is a mamajama, he is a killer," Brown said.

"But as an individual for social change, or any of that kind of [stuff].




Because he can get away with teaching kids to play golf, and that's his contribution." Woods was asked about those remarks Tuesday at a news conference kicking off his signature event on the PGA Tour, the AT&T National at Congressional Country Club starting Thursday in the Washington suburbs.

Woods clearly was fully aware of what Brown had said on HBO, as well as similar critical comments he's made in previous years, but the No.

1 player in the world preferred to take the high road.

"I think I do a pretty good job as it is with what we're trying to do with the [Tiger Woods] Foundation," he began.

"We have this event here and our block party in Orange County [Calif.].

How many kids we've helped.

What we're trying to do not just here in the U.S., but what my mom's doing in Thailand, all these different things we've done.

"I want to do it right, and not just do it, but do it right.

And that takes time.

You have to understand, you just don't jump into something.

You want to have a plan, and I think what we've done so far has been very good, very efficient and it's helped a lot of kids, taught a lot of kids how to give back and learn how to lead.

Learn how to teach others, have confidence in themselves to be able to do all these different things, and have these attributes going forward.

That takes time, and I think we've done it right.

• On the Tee: Congressional Woods estimated Tuesday that as many as 10 million youngsters have gone through various programs run by his foundation over the years, including attendance at a state-of-the-art learning center in the suburbs of Long Beach, Calif.

Golf represents about 5 percent of what many at-risk minority youngsters have been exposed to at that facility, with the emphasis almost exclusively focused on improving their educational and life skills, not their putting strokes.

Woods plans to build a similar learning center here in the nation's capital in the next few years, and at some point would like to have other centers scattered around the country.

His mother, Kultida, has helped open an orphanage in her native Thailand for impoverished and abused children and another school for mentally disabled youngsters using funds from her son's foundation.

Jim Brown feels that Tiger Woods' approach to social change is 'terrible, terrible.' (AP) This week, Woods, the son of an Army officer and Vietnam veteran, once again has chosen to honor America's military men and women at his event, offering them thousands of free tournament tickets, deep discounts on merchandise and refreshments and bringing in many wounded warriors injured in Iraq and Afghanistan to serve as honorary starters during Wednesday's pro-am event.

People who know Woods say he was more disappointed in Brown's latest remarks than he was angered by them, if only because he's heard these eruptions before.

Wouldn't it be nice, they wonder, if Brown at some point also mentioned so many of the good works Woods and his foundation have contributed? There have been times when Woods could have and probably should have taken public positions on important social matters.

Martha Burk remains convinced to this day if Woods and other prominent PGA Tour players had taken a strong stand on Augusta National changing its rules to allow female members, the club would have caved in a Georgia minute.

But Woods has made a career out of avoiding most politically charged issues, which is certainly his absolute right.

And while he did take part in President Barack Obama's historic inauguration, speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last January, this week he also invited House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) to play with him in the tournament's Wednesday pro-am.

As for Jim Brown's latest irresponsible remarks, Woods easily could have taken the low road in responding to arguably the greatest running back in NFL history.

He could have very publicly mentioned Brown's well-documented anger management problems, and a police blotter full of arrests on charges ranging from rape, sexual battery and assault, charges later dropped when the victims declined to pursue the matters in court.

But he properly declined to go down that potholed street.

Give Brown lots of credit for what he's done in recent years in working with Los Angeles gang members, in trying to empower economic development in inner cities around the country, in speaking out against racial injustice.

But aiming his considerable ire at Tiger Woods continues to be totally misdirected, and really ought to stop.

Leonard Shapiro can be reached at [email protected]
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