I was driving to work this morning when the host broke into his own broadcast and played the Tiger Woods “Statement“.
I listened, and refrained from talking back to the radio as is sometimes my habit when I am subjected to such things. Unlike the President’s uncritical appraisal of his own performance for the last year, I give the statement a solid “C”, with a few reservations.
I understand that his ability to play golf exceptionally well has allowed Tiger to enjoy a level of wealth and celebrity that very few other people ever enjoy. With those benefits often come temptations of the type that he indulged in. Yet, for some reason, there seems to be a degree of public upset that cannot be easily explained. Why do I say that?
Think about it this way: Is a big time sports star that much different from a rock star? They both are very recognizable. They both make buckets of money. They both travel lots for their job. No one bats an eye anymore at the rock star sport screwing anything that crosses their path. It is largely taken for granted that they have sex on demand with multiple partners from coast to coast. That is one of the reasons why so many young men dream of become rock stars.
This mindset seems to be more common for the NBA, as well, as the stories of life on the road leak out into the mainstream consciousness. Wilt Chamberlain claimed to have slept with thousands of women over the course of his career, and many younger players seem to be determined to follow in his footsteps.
Is the difference that Tiger is married? I doubt it. One of the hallmarks of today’s society is infidelity. The stigma and shame appear to have been set aside for most people. A scan of daytime TV or a cruise through the family law docket at your local court should drive that point home. No fault divorce, a decline in religious practices and attendance, and even the mainstream character of terms like “Babymama” provide ample evidence that infidelity is no longer taboo. If that isn’t enough, a spin around the dial of primetime TV, the appeal of companies like the Ashley Madison Agency, and any number of “hook up” sites on the internet should make that a bit clearer for you.
When I take all of the above into consideration, I have to ask myself “Why did he do it?” I mean, if I were the world’s best golfer, making buckets of cash, and still able to draw large crowds even though I had this “problem”, I might look at the free pass that other wealthy celebrities get on the same topic and say “Screw this. I did it because I could. It is an entitlement that I have little reason to believe that any of you would pass up if you had the opportunity.”
Maybe it was the image that he benefitted from, if he did not outright cultivate. The nice guy…close to his parents, married with kids…the kind of guy you want to root for. The kind of guy that not even Barack Hussein Obama could publically declare “makes too much money” and get the same head bobs that he gets for similar remarks about those “Greedy Wall Street Executives.” Maybe we feel betrayed…betrayed enough to ignore the obvious double-standard that we have apparently imposed on him. And maybe that is enough to keep me from exploring that idea that this pointless public apology wasn’t either a dramatic gesture towards a justifiably pissed spouse, or an attempt to straighten and polish a crooked and tarnished halo that was worth millions in endorsements that have since abandoned him. I’d like to think that he is smart enough to know that redemption isn’t the same as making it all like it was before.
He was right about one thing: character does matter. But if you are more worried about your character because of how other people choose to see you, rather than how you see yourself or are right with God, then you’re still doing it for the wrong reasons. Character is defined by what you do when no one is looking.