My Most Embarrassing Moment
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My most embarrassing moment as a sports photographer

Around 1980 I was photographing the US Open Golf tournament in Mamaroneck New York. I had been doing assignments for Sport and Black Sports Magazines. Black Sports wanted pictures of the black golfer Jim Dent (I think) and I had arranged with NPS for a 600mm lens. But I had no armband, which was required to be inside the ropes to get unobstructed photos of the players. Beside myself, there was another writer/photographer for Black Sports who also didn't have an armband. Hanging out with the other pro photographers I had no trouble getting under the ropes. All the security saw was this long heavy lens and thought I belonged there. The other photographer from Black Sports (who also wrote for the Amsterdam News) was primarily a writer and had an old Pentax hanging around his neck. When he tried to get under the ropes, of course the security stopped him. Well as it turned out, he took it personally and wrote a nasty column in the Amsterdam News and sent a letter to the PGA complaining about racial injustice explaining that I, being white, was allowed under the ropes but not him because he was black, with neither of us having the proper credentials. Two weeks later I get a phone call from the PGA asking about the incident. Embarrassingly I had to explain that I hadn't seen the article or his letter but it was easy enough to walk through the security line because I had the proper attitude and equipment. And it seemed that the complaining photographer had a chip on his shoulder and used my name without my knowledge in his article about racial injustice.

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