Joe Biden and football boss Roger Goodell on racial discrimination

BBC coverage of the launch

Former Vice President Joe Biden has for the first time appeared to liken Jordan Spieth’s caddie, Kyle Rittenhouse, to white supremacists, triggering an angry response from Rittenhouse.

The BBC was the sole national broadcaster reporting the news of the arrival of Spieth’s caddie, formerly a figure of derision among fans of British golf, in New York.

Spieth was leading at the time but won the tournament by seven shots – the first time since 1950 no caddie had been introduced for an American player at the US PGA Championship.

But Joe Biden, a long-time Democrat, jumped on the perceived lack of respect towards Rittenhouse in a post on Twitter in 2015 and called the caddie “a bigoted white supremacist”.

The Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, then released a statement criticising “fear-mongering” that tried to “exploit the issues of race and gender.”

Spieth’s chances were not helped further when US President Donald Trump described Caddyshack actor Bill Murray having a conversation with Rittenhouse as a “sick thing”.

The President tweeted: “Crooked Hillary Clinton & Bill Clinton were friends with John McCain, loved him, paid his bills & protected him. Why didn’t Crooked Hillary mention this in her book? Why is it just now reported that, after many years, Bill & Crooked Hillary admitted colluding?

“Little Bill talked about John not long ago, and he was a “great guy,” wrote the former US Vice President, referring to Murray.

“He was GREAT, and we would talk on the golf course, which I loved. He was also a big supporter of mine and Hillary. Why didn’t Crooked Hillary mention this in her book, or use her enormous power and influence to save John?”

He added: “I never said ‘fake’ at all.”

When the story first broke, Spieth criticised President Trump’s allegation.

“If somebody is put in a position of putting him with your biggest supporter and the golf committee, that’s their choice,” he said.

“The truth has come out, and Kyle’s feelings were hurt. But it’s certainly not something that he liked.”

The caddie also released a statement in response, saying: “From day one, I have had no biases against any ethnic group.

“For some people, my colour has always been an issue. Regardless of where I stand on social issues, it has never been about what colour my skin is.

“I don’t think that should be an issue for most people.”

The NFL attempted to intervene. Rittenhouse is a family friend of former league commissioner Roger Goodell.

What is the commissioner’s role in the NFL?

Goodell was hired by the NFL in 2006.

“NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was targeted on social media after comments made regarding attacks on black college football players while discussing a need for US sports leaders to teach tolerance,” noted The Columbus Dispatch, which called Goodell’s comments to USA Today “prejudicial”.

Some NFL fans became angry with Goodell and launched social media campaigns, using the hashtags #FumbleGoodell, #DelayItForGoodell and #PackersForGoodell.

On 3 October Goodell was named in a $40m (£31m) US lawsuit brought by more than five thousand current and former NFL players over the league’s handling of concussions.

In the second half of the game in Charlotte, North Carolina, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stepped out of bounds. Goodell told Newton he should not have left the field but said the QB was accused of pushing a cameraman as he left the field.

The incident lasted less than two minutes and lasted mostly behind closed doors.

Goodell apologised later, saying: “I was wrong and for that I’m sorry.”

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