Yesterday, I sat down for dinner at a diner with my daughter and Pardon The Interruption was playing on the tube. Of course, one of the short topics they touched on was Tiger (how could they not?). And I think Tony Kornheiser assessed Tiger’s current media strategy of staying silent in the wake of the media shitstorm swirling around him. “Right now Tiger is bleeding from a thousand cuts.” In my mind, I thought “Very astute and beautiful metaphor. Kudos, Mr. Kornheiser. Kudos.” No publicists could stop it, there was no effective spin that could change public perception. And nothing was stopping these waitresses from coming out of the woodworks to accept their fifteen minutes of fame and meager payout.
Later, I got home to check my news feeds to see that Tiger found what may be the most strategic way to stop all of the bleeding @ once. He’s stepping away from the public eye completely by removing himself from the golf course by “taking an indefinite break.”
Wise move, Tiger. Wise move.
It’s a reminiscent of Jordan’s first retirement. Remember the gambling allegations that were swirling around MJ in ’93? While his father’s death was the ultimate act that caused him to step away from the game, it was always strong rumor that his penchant for betting was what was about to do him in with the commissioner and the league. But with one tragedy and a retirement, all was forgiven once fans and the media realized what Jordan had given to them, the game and the watching world as a whole. It was realized what was taken away, all in the blink of an eye. While they may be giant physical specimens, it reminded us that even our greatest sports heroes are flawed humans just like the rest of us. Human beings who make mistakes and who inevitably suffer just like everyone else, except it takes place on a grand scale in front of the world.
And here we are with Tiger.
My biggest complaint still remains that half of these “ladies” linked to Tiger are being referred to as “mistresses.” I don’t buy that one bit. I didn’t last week, still don’t this week and it was good to read a writer @ a larger publication voice a similar opinion. It’s the same as taking every chick I bagged in my lifetime and labeling her as one of my “girlfriends.” Ask yourself if you can honestly remember every one-night-stand you had, much less their names. I know I can’t. Now, imagine being a star athlete and increasing that number tenfold. Most of these women were just one-offs for Tiger or area code broads available to him as travel perks, just like many other athletes.
What Tiger has done is forced the media and all of us to step back, slowing our roll for one second. Do we really want to drive away one of the greatest athletes to step foot on a golf course based on behavior away from the game? While moral character and actions are factors, how much should an athlete’s behavior off the field be part of our judgment of them? Isn’t this a family issue, one that doesn’t directly effect our witnessing his play?
On second thought, I guess Tiger already answered that last question by stepping away.