Lieu and Yee Help Rescind LPGA English Language Policy Penalty

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In a surprising twist of events in the LPGA English language controversy, Asian American political leaders Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco and Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Los Angeles  were able to help rescind the LPGA Tour Commission’s suspension-penalty policy. Both officials publicly challenged the legality and galvanized community attention to the LPGA’s policy late last month when it was released.

The policy has not been completely removed, however, only revised. Though the suspension penalty has been rescinded, fines are still an option for players who don’t meet the requirement.

The LPGA has received valuable feedback from a variety of constituents regarding the recently announced penalties attached to our effective communications policy. We have decided to rescind those penalty provisions,” wrote Carolyn Bivens, the LPGA Tour commissioner, in a statement available on the LPGA website.

“After hearing the concerns, we believe there are other ways to achieve our shared objective of supporting and enhancing the business opportunities for every Tour player,” Bivens explained. “We will continue communicating with our diverse Tour players to develop a better alternative. The LPGA will announce a revised approach, absent playing penalties, by the end of 2008.”

It was just 3 days earlier when she released this statement: “We are asking that [the players] demonstrate a basic level of communication in English at tournaments in the United States in situations that are essential to their job as a member of the LPGA Tour – media interviews, the pro-am environment and winner acceptance speeches.”

The penalty [if the minimum requirements are not met] is meant to underscore the importance of this issue to the LPGA’s long-term business success.”

The Asian Pacific American Legal Center is hosting a news conference in Los Angeles asking the LPGA to completely overturn its policy.

Gerlad D. Kim, a senior staff attorney for APALC, remarked, “Until they completely retract it, issue an apology to the players and the fans, I think we’ll remain very concerned and interested in what happens. The LPGA has gone about this totally the wrong way.”

AsianWeek will provide updates on this issue. The Associated Press’ Doug Ferguson contributed to this story.

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