Tony Finau shares his experience with police brutality, racism

Tony Finau shared his experience with police brutality and racism in America.

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Tony Finau is the 16th-ranked golfer in the world

He has represented the U.S. on the world stage at both the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, won on the PGA Tour and been a runner-up on Tour six times. He’s also of Polynesian descent, making him one of few people of color on Tour.

Amid social unrest that has spread across globe in protest of police brutality and racial inequality following George Floyd’s death last month, Finau was inspired to share his own experience with a police officer several years ago.

Finau grappled with whether he should speak up about his experience, but ultimately decided the worst thing he could do is say nothing.

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“Have I dealt with racism in my life as a person of color in this country? Yes, I have,” he said.

Finau detailed an incident that occurred in 2014. 

“I was put behind bars for the first time in my life, the only time in my life, and in handcuffs for the first time in my life and only time in my life, because of the color of my skin,” Finau recalled.

“I was with my friend, who was white. He was driving and he had a couple bad tickets…so he had a warrant out for his arrest. When we were pulled over, the officer asked us both to get out of the car,” Finau said. “I asked him why, and with more intense words [he] told me to get out of the car.”

“So, of course I cooperated with him. I got out of the car. Within seconds, my my face was slammed up against the passenger door and I was in handcuffs,” Finau said.

“To try and describe the feeling of injustice, unfairness at this time and try to portray that to those that have never been made to feel that way, it’s a very inhumane feeling and wrong on all levels,” Finau said. “It’s a criminal act for law enforcement to treat anyone this way, but especially those of color.” 

Finau related his experience to current events, saying that watching the video of George Floyd took him back to this experience. He said that as a person of color, he could no longer stay silent on this issue. 

“I voice my opinion because I stand with those that are for justice, for equality, and against police brutality and anyone abusing their authority because of the color of someone else’s skin,” Finau said. “I think there’s a way to move this country forward by understanding each other, listening to each other, and to continue to spread love.”

Finau will be in the field at Colonial. He tees off at 1:17 alongside Lanto Griffin and Sebastián Muñoz. You can see the complete video below.

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Rachel Bleier

Golf.com Editor