Stuck in the trap

3 12 2009

OK, so everyone is pretty much buzzing about golf great Tiger Woods’ oops, I got caught statement apologyafter several stories ran on tabloid US Weekly’s Web site focused on claims that Woods had an affair with a cocktail waitress. Speculation began following a car crash early Friday that sent the golfer to the hospital.
Part of the debate over the story is whether Woods’ privacy is being invaded, and whether focusing on the whole debacle in public is the right thing to do.
I say yes … up to this point.
It’s true the Woods is technically a private citizen and doesn’t have to be held accountable to the public. If Woods was just another golfer, I don’t think this should be a major news story, nor do I think it would be.
However, Woods’ public status goes way beyond the fact that he happens to be a pretty darn good golfer.
Being a celebrity comes with a price, because whether these people like it or not, they automatically become a role model (good or bad) for the rest of us schnooks in the real world.
It’s worse for professional athletes, especially since most young kids often turn to sportsmen as inspiration to do well in life.
Woods is one of those athletes. Twice, he’s been named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. He’s broken racial barriers in the sport of golf. He’s been hailed as a positive example for youths, especially young minorities, across the nation.
There’s also the numerous endorsements he does. Whether it’s hawking a product for a commercial, or backing something more charitable, Woods has put forth an image that says “I’m a good guy. You can trust me.”
Now, that image has been badly tarnished. Despite his playing down the whole thing as “personal failures,” you can’t escape that it looks like Woods has had a 31-month affair with this waitress.
That’s not just a one-stand, folks. For those of you who won’t do the math at home, that’s a long-term, two-year, seven-month affair.
That’s a purposeful relationship. That’s a deliberate relationship. That goes way beyond the I-used-poor-judgment argument.
And during that time, Woods has been passing himself off as an ultimate role model, and the ideal family man.
Given the societal position he’s put himself into, hell, yes he’s got some splainin’ to do. He owes it to every single person who has looked up to him not just as an amazing golfer, but as someone the public thought they could emulate.
He’s done that, and even if you think his statement was crap, it’s still a public confession and statement about his private life, and that’s where it should stop. Woods has made his statement … putting it out there that there are some issues in his personal life that need to be dealt with.
There’s no need to constantly badger him to give us more.
But now, it’s time for the rest of us to back off and let the man handle his business. He’s got a family to fix, and he’s got himself to fix.
And, now, in lieu of his public statement, he should be allowed to do that in private.

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