In lieu of Tiger Woods’ recent apology, the question of his forgiveness arises. Should he apologize to fans? Should it be public? And, is it sincere even if he does it? Tiger has long been one of the most guarded, private sports figures of his time, despite being the most recognizable sports celebrity of our generation, and possibly the most recognizable ever.
Tiger did apologize. He did it publicly. He did it sincerely. He apologized to his fans, to his supporters, and to his business partners. He thanked his wife for her support, understanding and disposed of rumors of domestic violence between them, specifically that she had been violent with him. Woods said publicly, “I cheated,” “had affairs,” and “transgressions.” He admitted to being immature, selfish and foolish. People seem to think that his apology was robotic, rehearsed and contrived. I’m not sure that it matters. He stood in front of the world and admitted his faults. Am I praising him for something that a 3 year old can do of his/her own volition? No, but I am saying that he did what you ask of someone that has screwed up royally. He apologized.
Should the public forgive him though? As a consumer of his products, should you need his apology? Does Tiger’s infidelity make his golf clubs or golf balls perform any less on a golf course? Do they stop doing their job because he was unfaithful? If you use his shaving products or drive a Cadillac, did you buy those things because Tiger Woods, the family man, pushed it on television? That’s not good consumerism. To quote a sports radio host with whom I rarely agree, Collin Heard, “…stop looking for heroes and look for the truth, you’ll be a lot happier.” Let me give you some truth, Tiger Woods is probably not a sex addict. He is, however, the most celebrated sports figure in the world. He’s young, immature and has more money than most normal people could imagine. He is a good-looking athlete, is in great shape, and dominates his sport. He belongs to a select group of young men that have never had any real responsibility before they’ve been given unreal amounts wealth. At 21, he had fame and fortune, so he really thought that the rules didn’t apply to him. Is it right? Nope, but it is the truth. Women chase a guy with those characteristics. They show up in pro athletes’ hotel rooms. And, it’s probably too much temptation for a guy that hasn’t matured past 21. He’s gotten everything that he’s wanted for the last ten years. Tiger was immature, not necessarily an addict. And truthfully, there are very few heroes out there and a lot more human beings who make mistakes and then apologize.