Another Sports Idol Bites the Dust

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, โ€œI 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.โ€

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.

12 thoughts on “Another Sports Idol Bites the Dust”

  1. Even though it’s totally wrong that he had all these “affairs,” I also feel it gives the wrong message when he was allowed to avoid the police after he wrecked his car. If it had been the average Joe off the street, the police would have hauled him down to the station for “eluding an officer” and possible DUI. Why does this country continue to teach the children that if you have money or a well-known name, you can do anything you like and get away with it?

  2. Whatever consequences he receives should come from within his family. It’s not up to anyone outside the family or within the media or among the paparazzi to judge and condemn. And like every citizen, he has the right to choose not to talk to the police. And he has the right to privacy.

    Straight From Hel

  3. Actually, it was pointed out several times on TV coverage that Woods, under Florida law, had no obligation to talk to the police. That he exercised his right to refuse shouldn’t be held against him.

    I’m a longtime sports journalist, so I will acknowledge some cynicism on this issue, but … I’ve never considered Tiger Woods anything more than the best golfer who ever lived. He’s never taken a public stand on anything important (until the right of privacy, today). He’s never held himself up as a paragon of virtue. He’s a superior athlete between the ropes and intensely private off the course. I’m a little surprised that so many people have such an emotional investment in him beyond the golf course, but then, I’ve been surprised before.

  4. Craig, good points and I agree that Tiger Woods has not set himself up as a paragon of virtue, but because of his high profile, he has become someone that kids look up to. Those kids are highly influenced by the behavior of the athletes and other celebs that they see as role models. It distresses me when those role models make really bad choices and after the furor dies down, it is business as usual. People are quick to overlook poor behavior — think Michael Vick — because the person is a star athlete, or otherwise important. There is a certain sense of entitlement that these people feel, and I take issue with that whole mind-set.

  5. I’m quite glad I’m not a celebrity. I’ve not done anything like what people say Tiger has done, but I still would not want my every move and comment judged and talked about. Since I’m a writer, I wonder if we hold writers up to such strict standards? I don’t think so. No one condemned Hemmingway. I’m trying to think of a modern day author who has been ripped for his/her behavior. Hmm…

    Straight From Hel

  6. I suppose. But again: Celebrities, by and large, are not good choices for role models. I don’t necessarily buy the notion that Tiger’s bad choices send a message to kids that it’s OK to cheat on your wife. I’d hope that they have guidance at home, at school, at church that makes such a notion moot.

    And, frankly, his failing is pretty common, across all walks of life. I have no standing to judge him and wouldn’t want to. I’m a little amused by some of the rationalizations people make for their contention that he somehow owes them an explanation or an apology. I understand the interest. But the high-minded excuses for being interested fall flat for me.

  7. Again, you make some good points, Craig. The one thing I really enjoy with this kind of discussion is that we can rethink our positions if we are open enough to another’s POV. By starting this discussion, and contributing to one on Facebook, I don’t mean to imply that I think Tiger owes anyone an apology. I just see this an another indication of how society at large has come to accept behaviors that used to have people scorned.

  8. I understand. And I appreciate your broaching an interesting topic.

    I wasn’t necessarily ascribing the desire for an apology/explanation to you. I have seen it from other folks, and it’s a bit perplexing to me.

  9. It really has been interesting to see so many viewpoints on this, Craig. The discussion on Facebook has brought up different points as well. I guess that is what expands our thinking on a subject. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. With so many other important newsworthy issues being ignored to give his “indiscretions” publicity, I find myself sickened that we need to know or even care what these people do in their private lives. For heaven sakes…our own ex-president humiliated his wife with his “indiscretions” and she rewarded him by forgiving him and staying…as did Kobe Bryant’s wife, and I’m sure Tiger’s will, too. It’s more about money than morals in my opinion, and quite frankly, I’m more interested in how people without jobs are going to make it through another day than I am about whether or not Tiger Woods loses a sponsor because he couldn’t keep his zipper up.

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