Harold Varner calls for social justice, unity following nationwide protests
In response to days of widespread protests across the United States, Harold Varner, one of just a few black players on the PGA Tour, issued a call for unity.
Varner, 29, posted a 632-word statement on social media Monday afternoon, sharing his thoughts on the current state of race relations in America and pushing back against one-dimensional thinking. “To whoever wants to listen, I have so much I want to say,” Varner’s note began.
“Here’s the obvious: George Floyd should still be alive,” he wrote, describing Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer as “evil incarnate” and “senseless.”
“There are objective truths in life,” Varner said. “I think that’s one of them. But life is more nuanced than a simple statement.”
“We constrict ourselves to single-minded thought,” Varner wrote. “It’s easy to do. But that ain’t life. You can be against a cop savagely killing a man and also have the perspective to say that burning businesses and police stations is wrong … we must allow ourselves to go beyond this one-or-the-other mentality.”
In many cities across the country, protesters have marched, sang, and demonstrated frustration with police brutality against African-Americans. In many instances, peaceful protests have been held during daylight hours but protesters and law enforcement have clashed at night over imposed curfews, property damage and more.
Varner described how single-minded thought can get people “stuck” while protests and police relations devolve into violence. “Yes, the cop acted in the most horrific of ways,” Varner wrote. “No, not all cops are like that. Yes, people are rightly angry. No, we don’t need to loot to make our point. In my heart, I know we’re a good country filled with good people. It’s time we start recognizing that.”
In the span of an hour Varner was retweeted by a handful of fellow Tour players Ryan Palmer, Martin Piller and Taylor Gooch, as well as Hall of Famer Gary Player. The PGA Tour also retweeted Varner’s message.
Varner was one of the first Tour pros to make a statement regarding the unrest that has spilled out across the country in the last seven days. He noted that he received “more messages than ever before” to speak up immediately, but “needed the time to put pen to paper and give y’all a proper message.”