The first to crumble was the moral indignation which had protected him from the press-ly hordes like a ring of fire; the first intimation of vulnerability in a man who had never known such. Without the sense of implied moral authority and the right to be left alone, Tiger was as vulnerable as a man running down the street with a vigilante mob at his heels. The fire hydrant incident Thanksgiving of 2009 turned the tables on the reticent superstar. Tabloidry, which was already sniffing around, caught a whiff of scandal and vulnerability so strong they would not be dissuaded by anything. They began closing in like a pack of dingoes. The next thing to go was Tiger’s ability to posture or protest. His protective saber had lost its glow.
The cat was out of the bag for keeps and Tiger’s failure to realize that will be studied as a case of denial that led to more self-inflicted wounds. Tiger’s words and actions betrayed Michael Jackson-esque naivety and a misplaced belief in talismanic powers he no longer had. What had been common knowledge among insiders had breached the wall of public knowledge, but it needed Elin Nodergren’s outrage the way a flame needs an accelerant to burn out of control. Mea culpa by press statement did not serve Tiger well. The next step – a staged press conference coming about three months later, did little to reverse the damage.
The Apology, Friday February 19, 2010
N.B. Because the YouTube version of Woods apology has been rendered private, you are gonna have to use Google or “The apology” hyperlink below to get to the video.
The apology is pure theater with an unhealthy helping of the absurd. At this late hour, Tiger should have skipped it all together or given the press and the public something more genuine and believable. Something less scripted and awkward. The performance recalled Chris Brown and his video statement post Rihanna.
Tiger Woods should not have read that statement. The pauses between phrases and passages were pregnant with awkwardness instead of meaning. The closest Woods came to evoking genuine feeling was when he told the paparazzi to leave his mother, wife and kids alone.
Worlds Collide – (The world of sports, entertainment and corporate sponsorship) Tiger would not have needed today’s public apology had he been Joe Blow caught in flagrante delicto with the family nanny. No, the apology was made necessary by the fact that Tiger is a corporation within a corporation with all kinds of fat cat stakeholders.
The rule book is out there, but athletes, entertainers and musicians, with very few exceptions, still find out the hard way: to wit within the crucible of scandal or inquisition by a pesky press and hypocritical public. There is an unwritten contract out there, namely that you can get all fame and fortune you want as long as you pay the public/corporate piper by doing things that shame neither. There are exceptions though – a few loopholes for discerning playas. Call it the envelope of tolerance. The playa can get away with virtual murder as long as he doesn’t get too arrogant or sloppy or careless. Whatever he does should never appear to be daring the press and or the public to find out …. if they can. Rubbing things in the press’ or public’s face is never a good idea …. as Gary Hart quickly found out.
The Playa and the Edge: Tiger Woods was arrogant and churlish to begin with. That is the edge most playas need to maintain their mojo and “street” creds. He just got way too sloppy and arrogant in the end. And the result was public emasculation by corporate and public edict. The result was as awkward as it was stilted. Tiger might have as well been taking the oath of celibacy – and the boys in the barrio reacted as if someone had just kicked them in the you-know-what. No playa, self-styled or otherwise, lives on a public leash. (Tiger as virtual priest? Nah. That ain’t life – at least the way it’s lived out there. And therapy? Hell no. Sniff whatever you sneakin’ but stay the hell away from my freak on.)
Back at H.Q. and throughout the land: The mea culpa did not ring true, given what those-in-the-know know of Tiger and his M.O. The rationale for it was less than persuasive beyond the need to salvage a brand. Tiger’s brand and that of his sponsors. The audience was hand-picked and the disclosures were selective. Beyond a semblance of contrition (which seemed like an extreme case of playing outside the comfort zone), the news conference did not reveal anything beyond Tiger Woods’ parallel universes. The corporate and the private. Whether he manages to bring them together in the coming months remains to be seen.
Tiger Woods and Mom, a touching moment of genuineness at the end of an awkward scripted presentation evocative of memorable mea culpas from stodgy world of politics (Photo: Joe Skipper-Pool/Getty Images)
“The blind lead the blind,
Into pits full of snares,
The preacher and the drunkard
Together shout into the night” (J.W.)
Gloria Allred: The crazy-as-a-fox side of this theater of the absurd, had Gloria Allred in a crimson suit that appeared to be running colors, holding a gonzo news conference calculated to capitalize on the moment and get more publicity bang for the buck for her and her client-of-the-moment, Joslyn James, a former porn star that Tiger allegedly “dated” for three years. In a situation brimming such ironies that only someone with the chutzpah of Allred could brave it, she berated Tiger for lying to Ms. James and not apologizing to her by name. Intoned Allread: “Today was not an apology. It was a public relations stunt. It was a disgrace.”
Allred decried her client’s loss of income from porn on account of Tiger’s jealous tendencies. (Threat of a lawsuit? A hint to Tiger to settle with her out of court? Oi vei!)
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to tell that given the way Tiger’s saga has unfolded since Thanksgiving, there is very little hope for his marriage surviving this. We would like to be wrong for his kids’ sake, but we doubt it.
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Too many short putts doomed Tiger Woods at Augusta (Shane Bacon, Yahoo Sports) Note – Check out the comment section.