Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tiger Woods' Apology

Yesterday I watched Tiger Woods' apology and the reaction to it with fascination. Tiger did manage the feat, rare amongst celebrities and politicians, of actually apologizing, saying that he was responsible, that he was wrong, and that his actions had hurt other people. None of your phony, "I'm sorry you're so oversensitive you were offended" non-apology apologies that we hear so often. He talked about his faith (Buddhism) and how adhering to its principles would have kept him from the actions that have landed him in this trouble, and he talked about the sense of entitlement produced by fame, wealth, and celebrity.

He did not talk about the women he had the affairs with, or apologize to them or to their families, who were hurt by this just as his own wife has been hurt. And he did not take any questions.

Tiger has courted media attention for his entire career. He has made millions off of his squeaky clean image, even more than off of the fact that he's possibly the greatest golfer ever. But he has always wanted that media attention to be solely on his own terms. He has always wanted total control of the message. But now we have found out that a large part of that message was a lie--he is not the squeaky clean guy he has been selling to us--and he still wants to control the message.

Let me be clear. Tiger telling the media to back off his wife, his kids, and his mom is totally appropriate. I hope the media listen and heed, though I doubt they will. They are not the ones who made this Faustian bargain.

Tiger is. And Tiger Woods cannot seriously expect that saying "sorry, no questions" will be enough.