Tiger Lays a Foundation?

I’m watching Steven A. Smith lambast Tiger Woods on Larry King — “Fake and phony ….”  “He’s been lying from day one.  He says he thought he was above the rules — but today he’s circumventing the rules.  You’ve got to stand in the public eye and take questions from journalists.  He wanted to surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones.  Who does he think he is?”

I don’t agree.  I watched Tiger Woods 15 minute apology today and I’m basically of two minds about it.  First, I think it was a truly heartfelt speech and no reasonable observer could call it “fake and phony”.    I think it was clear that he wrote it himself or largely by himself, and I think it was remarkably comprehensive.   He touched all the bases — the way he let down his wife, his kids — but also his fans, his foundation, his sponsors, his colleagues, the PGA, and the sport.  I think it was important that he actually showed that he understood the transgression’s impact in so many areas.  And the pain showed and it wasn’t acting.

Jim Gray has a more reasonable take:   “I saw a different guy. shaken and uncomfortable. He didn’t display confidence. He didn’t smile once.  I didn’t see that glint of determination in his eyes. And I saw one thing I’d never seen — a touch of humility.”  Gray also adds:  “Let’s just say this, from the news aspect, I was happy to hear Tiger say he does not use PED’s, and that there has never been any domestic violence in his marriage.  I was hoping this wasn’t a John Edwards moment, a Bill Clinton moment — that this was truthful.”

I think it was also significant that he offered some actual insight into the thought process that took him where he ended up:   “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deswerved to enjoy all the tmeptations around me. I felt I was entitled. thanks to money and fame, I didn’t have to go far to found them. I was wrong. I was foolish. I don’t get to play by different rules.  The same boundaries that apply to everyone, apply to me.”  It was good that he said this, and I also think it was interesting that he brought up Buddhism and what he’s learned from it.  This was, for Tiger, letting his guard down in away he’s never done before it shows that he’s really thought about it and understands the process that got him in trouble.

So on all those levels I think it was a good start on the road to redemption.  But that’s all it was — a start.  I think he will have to appear in other forums, and answer questions, if he is to recover to the full extent he and the PGA would like him to.  If he refuses to take questions and thinks this one-time statement is the end of his public mea culpa,

What bothered me and diminished the impact of his apology was the fact that he just couldn’t resist taking swipes at the media.  He didn’t to do that.  The defiant, angry attitude toward the institution that turned him into a persona that can pretty much stop the world for 15 minutes when he makes an apology like this was inappropriate for this moment.  It should have been all about his own weaknesses; his own failures; his commitment to improve.  The swipes at the media could come later.

Please know that as far I am concerned every one of these question and answers are between me and Elin. These are matters between a husband and wife.”

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~ by Michael Sellers on February 19, 2010.

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