February 20, 2010

Tiger Woods Speaks: Can We Move On?

I have wanted to write about Tiger Woods since early December 2009. At that time, the world was informed Tiger had violated his marriage vows, and committed adultery on a number of occasions. At the time, I felt so strongly none of this was any of our business; I couldn't bring myself to write about it. Today, I continue to strongly feel none of this is any of our business, and I'm writing about it.

Tiger Woods is a professional golfer. He could be the greatest golfer who ever lived. He is not a spokesperson for fidelity. He is a golfer. He should be judged on whether he wins or loses golf tournaments, not who he sleeps with. Who he sleeps with is an intensely personal matter between Tiger and his wife Elin. It is none of our business.

Bill Clinton, as President of the United States was accused of infidelity. In 1998 Articles of Impeachment were filed against President Clinton. The President was an elected official accused of perjury and obstruction of justice. He was accused of violating his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States. One could argue this was our business. We elected him to represent the United States of America. In the end, he was not Impeached and served the remainder of his term as President. No long after his acquittal, President Clinton appeared in the White House Rose Garden and stated: ''Now that the Senate has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility, bringing this process to a conclusion, I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people."

In the last 15 years allegations of infidelity have been brought against Newt Gingrich (while he was trying to Impeach President Clinton), Eliot Spitzer (while Governor of New York), Mark Sanford (while Governor of South Carolina), and John Edwards (Elected official & Candidate for President of the United States). These men were elected officials. They were elected by Americans to represent them before the world. Their actions were a reflection of our collective character. Their infidelities might have been our business. Notice, I am not writing about Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez, or David Letterman.

With a a prepared statement Tiger, stood before the cameras and apologized for his behavior, admitted he had let people and sponsors down, and asked us to one day find it within ourselves to forgive him. Personally, I think he went above and beyond what he had to do. Maybe his therapists insisted he do this as a first step. Maybe his handlers insisted he do this to begin his rehabilitation as a spokesperson. Maybe he owed this to Nike and EA Sports. He didn't owe me an apology, and I don't believe he owed you one either. (Photo, The Denver Post)

"Money and fame made access to temptations easy," he said. "I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled," he said. This is probably what the men I listed above were also thinking. This sense of entitlement seems to be a part of the American culture and the culture of American sports, but I don't recall the last American athlete who stood up before the American people, on national television, and admitted it. Remember, the three major television stations cut into scheduled broadcasting to televise Tiger's apology. As did Fox News and CNN. Did this apology have an effect on your life?

Following the apology, there was hours of analysis. Was he sincere? What did the clothes he was wearing portray? Why did he read from a script? Why didn't he cry? Why didn't his eyebrows move when he spoke? Why did he use a podium instead of a teleprompter? Where was Elin? What did his mother say to him after he spoke?

What I want to know is when is he returning to golf? Will he be at The Masters and continue to pursue the records he is paid to pursue? The PGA and professional golfers around the world are ready for Tiger to return to golf.

ESPN's Tom Rinaldi asserts we will all remember where we were when Tiger made his public confession. Like some people remember where they were when President of the United States John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Are you kidding me? Has the entire world lost its mind? I say, leave Tiger, Elin, and their children alone. Let them work through this on their own. But, most of all, I say, "Tiger, get in shape, get your head in the game, and get back on the course to do what we do have a right to judge you for. Play golf Tiger!"


Unknown said...

I say judge not lest ye be judged. I would like to think that I would never cheat (especially on Elin (wow)) but you don't know the man's situation. That's a lot of temptation for a man to have to resist. You hear about this with professional athletes all the time and though, yes, it's despicable, unless you are in their shoes and walk the straight and narrow, you have no room to judge.

Brad Friedman said...

Great point Jeremy! I couldn't agree with you more. I doubt all those people passing judgement on Tiger are perfect individuals. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in.

Margaret said...

Brad: As an avid golfer and huge golf fan, this is probably the most balanced and sane view I have seen presented on the whole Tiger drama. At this point as far as I am concerned he has apologized publicly enough. Let's move onto golf. He is the most exciting pro golfer since Jack, and all I care about is seeing him back on the course. I also agree with you about the ridiculous statement made by the ESPN talking head "that we will all remember where we were when Tiger had his presser" Wow, I've already forgotten where I was!

Brad Friedman said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment Margaret. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Let's hope to see Tiger at The Masters, or at least the U.S. Open!

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