A golf club in Pennsylvania is under fire after calling police on a group of black women after a co-owner of the club and his father claimed the group was playing too slowly while refusing requests to leave the premises.
The five black women who set out to play golf feel they were discriminated against, and said it was a “horrific experience.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Black Female Golfers Said They Felt Discriminated Against When Police Were Called Because the Chronister’s Alleged They Were Playing ‘Too Slow’
On Saturday, the women, Sandra Thompson, Myneca Ojo, sisters Sandra Harrison and Carolyn Dow, and Karen Crosby, all in their 50’s, set out to play a round of golf at Grandview Golf Club in York, Pennsylvania, where all five women were members.
What appeared to start off as a leisurely and joyful day with friends turned into the women feeling discriminated against after Steve and Jorder Chronister allegedly told the players they were playing too slowly before calling authorities.
“I felt we were discriminated against,” one of the women, Myneca Ojo, told the York Daily Record. “It was a horrific experience.”
The women are part of a larger women’s golf group called Sisters of the Fairway, according to the newspaper, adding that the “members are experienced players who have golfed all over the county.”
At the second hole of the course, the women were told they were not keeping an appropriate pace by Steve Chronister, the father of the club’s co-owner, Jordan Chronister, as reported by the Daily Record.
“I was approached by Steve Chronister, and he said, ‘I’m one of the owners and you need to keep up the pace of play,” Crosby told the news outlet. “To me, that was a gross misrepresentation of who he was.”
“He was extremely hostile,” Ojo added.
Thompson told the York Daily Record that she was on a different part of the hole when she observed the exchange between Steve Chronister, Ojo, and Crosby.
“So, obviously, while the guy’s (Chronister) talking to them, there’s a delay,” Thompson said, according to the newspaper.
While at the same hole, Harrison said she spoke with a golf pro at the course who she said “acknowledged we were fine,” after pointing out the group who was golfing ahead of them.
The newspaper added that the women were later told “they had taken too long of a break between first and second halves of the course,” and were subsequently “asked to leave,” and also “offered their membership money refunded.”
A group of men surround the women, and a man, identified as Steve Chronister, can be heard telling his son to “Back off, this is what she wants. This is what she does for a living.”
When they didn’t leave, police were called to the course. However, only Thompson and Ojo had stayed at this point, while the other women were apparently too traumatized and took off after they felt harassed.
2. Jordan Chronister Is a Co-Owner of the Golf Club With His Wife, Who Offered an Apology
Following the incident, Jordan Chronister’s wife and co-owner of the golf club, JJ Chronister, told the Daily Record that she personally apologized to the five black women.
“We sincerely apologize to the women for making them feel uncomfortable here at Grandview, that is not our intention in any way,” JJ said, according to the publication. “We want all of our members to feel valued and that they can come out here and have a great time, play golf and enjoy the experience.”
In an email to The York Dispatch, JJ stated: “While our intention was to ensure all teams on the course were moving through in a timely manner, the interaction between our members and our ownership progressed in a manner that was not reflective of our company’s values or expectations for our own professionalism.”
Grandview Golf Course issued a statement via their Facebook page on Sunday Morning. It reads:
Yesterday at Grandview Golf Club, several of our members had an experience that does not reflect our organization’s values or our commitment to delivering a welcoming environment for everyone. We are disappointed that this situation occurred and regret that our members were made to feel uncomfortable in any way.
We have reached out to the members who shared their concerns to meet in-person, to fully understand what happened so that we can ensure it never happens again. Our team is very sorry for any interaction that may have made any member feel uncomfortable. Please know that we are taking this issue very seriously and expect our own organization to meet the highest standards for service that allows for everyone to feel comfortable and welcome.
3. Steve Chronister Is a Former York County Commissioner
Steve Chronister was identified as the man in the video who stated to his son, “Back off, this is what she wants. This is what she does for a living,” speaking of the black woman who raised concerns about the encounter.
The elder Chronister is a former York County Commissioner, as shown in records and on his Facebook page, which states that he is now a “Real Estate Agent at Howard Hanna Real Estate-York Office.”
Many are venting and taking their outrage towards the incident to the social media page.
“Hey racist!,” Johnny Rogers wrote in response to a post. “You’re really helping your son and his whole family out, keep up the shame!”
“Shame on you,,, and your son is real brave getting up in a woman’s face,” Jane Smith stated. “Play any golf recently? Say goodbye to your life and career, bigot.”
4. Police Said the Women Will Not Face Charges
Northern York County Regional Police responded to the call, but subsequently left without charging any of the parties involved.
“We were called there for an issue, the issue did not warrant any charges,” Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said, according to Fox Carolina. “All parties left and we left as well.”
5. This Is Just One Example of a Slew of Racial Issues in Recent Weeks
On the afternoon of April 21, Ojo posted the following to her Facebook page:
Today I was a victim of racial profiling and discrimination. Just a few minutes after we took our Sisters in the Fairway outing picture, Sandra Thompson and I were kicked off the golf course and the police called. The owner tried to kick us off earlier on the second hole, but Sandra intervened. The harassment continued to the 10th hole, with a claim we broke rules. We are golfers and we did not. We are professional women in our 50s trying to enjoy ourselves and was victimized, sectionalized and harassed playing golf. It got really scary the encounters and we are PAID members of this course, Grandview Golf Course in York, PA. Fight discrimination and bias. It is poisoning the progress of this state, the economy and this country. I stand against discrimination bullying. Please share this story and be mindful that times are a changing. I am an advocate for equality and promote equity professionally and personally. It happened to me.
The five women alleging discrimination are not the only people of color who have had issues in public settings as of late.
A video showing police in Saraland, Alabama, arresting a woman, Chikesia Clemons, on April 22 has sparked outrage, but police are defending their actions. The video shows officers throwing Clemons to the ground, telling her they are going to “break her arm,” and exposing her breasts during the altercation.
The arrest of Clemons occurred on the same day as a shooting which killed four people of color at a Waffle House in Nashville, Tennessee.
Clemons’ arrest happened only weeks after two black men were asked to leave a Philadelphia Starbucks as they said they were waiting for a friend, which was also caught on video and caused national outrage. You can watch the footage by clicking here.
The incidents have caused many to express their dismay regarding how people of color have recently been treated in public settings:
Read on for further coverage of the Philadelphia Starbucks incident: