Go to enough sporting events, and you’ll see the same thing happen again and again.
Kids will line up along some area and wait for their sports heroes to come over, sign a few autographs and, if they’re lucky, take a few pictures. And intermingled with those kids are often aggressive adults who are only there to get athletes’ signatures on duffel bags full of merchandise, only to turn them immediately around and sell them online.
Athletes see it all the time. They start to recognize a lot of the same suspects. But it’s rare that high-profile sports stars do some signature-shaming of those adults who can ruin the experience for the kids.
Spieth had just finished a practice round for this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he, as he typically does, made some time for kids who had been watching him play and wanted his signature — on a program, on a ball, their hat, whatever. It’s then that Spieth noticed some of these professional memorabilia dealers trying to get his John Hancock as well. Spieth said no.
“I turned around and they, one of them dropped an F-bomb in front of three kids, so I felt the need to turn around and tell them that that wasn’t right,” said Spieth. “And a couple of them were saying, ‘You’re not Tiger Woods; don’t act like you’re Tiger,’ I mean it’s just like, whatever, guys. You’re still trying to benefit off me, and I’m not even Tiger Woods. So, you know, what’s that say about you?”
Spieth, who routinely signs memorabilia for charitable purposes as well, later added, “I was just a little frustrated at the end and I didn’t appreciate the language that was used and just some scums that just, it just bothered me.”
The two-time major winner said he and his team try to keep track of what’s sold online with his signature, obviously against his wishes. Spieth has said he’s also started to recognize many of the same characters who follow him around just to make money off his name.
“I’m not appreciative of people who travel to benefit off other people’s success,” Spieth said. “I enjoy signing and sign for kids whenever we get the chance. … And these guys that just have bags of stuff to benefit from other people’s success when they didn’t do anything themselves. Go get a job instead of trying to make money off of the stuff that we have been able to do.”