I kept hoping it wasn’t true. Even as the early reports of liaisons between Tiger Woods and “other” women first surfaced last week, I kept wishing it would all turn out to be false. I don’t care a whit about golf, but I have always liked and admired Tiger since he blasted onto the Pro Golf scene in 1996 and was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated Magazine.
Tiger seemed to epitomize all that I found noteworthy in a celebrity athlete: integrity, humility, character, loyalty to family, and loyalty to fans. Characteristics that I did not see in other star athletes I refer to as “bad-boy” players.
Today that image crumbled.
Today, Tiger Woods apologized for letting his family down as more women were romantically linked to the married golfer.
In a written statement Woods, 33, said, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings.”
Sound familiar? Does every man who is caught with his zipper down have the same publicist to write the apology statement?
There are those who will forgive Tiger and support him in his professional and personal life, and on one level that is good. People need forgiveness, and life does need to go on. But we should no longer hold Tiger Woods up as an example for young people to emulate, and he should suffer some serious consequences for his transgressions.
Otherwise, the message is, “Mess up and if you are caught, just apologize nicely and everything will be okay.”
I think we need to start sending a different message.