Tiger Woods, come on down. You are the next celebrity athlete to face the harsh glare of the spotlights on, “What has he done now?”
When the story initially broke on Saturday afternoon about Woods’ single-car accident late Friday night, the attention was squarely focused on whether he was seriously injured.
Once it was revealed that Woods was treated and released, things started to calm down. He hadn’t given a statement to the police, but surely he would have an explanation for his middle of the night departure.
Maybe it was a late-night fast food run or he needed to go to the store to get diapers. Surely there was nothing serious about this.
But then you trace back to a tabloid story about Tiger Woods being in Australia with an alleged mistress.
And the odd circumstances of Elin having to bust out the rear window of his Cadillac with a golf club to get him out.
And the repeatedly cancelled interviews with the Florida Highway Patrol.
The story has gotten curiouser and curiouser with each passing turn and the stonewalling coming from Tiger’s camp.
Woods released a statement on Sunday on his website that reads as follows:
As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I'm pretty sore.
This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again.
This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.
The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.
This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received.
But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be.
Now, wait just a minute here.
I’m willing to buy that the car accident has been stressful. No argument there from me.
I understand the need for privacy. Most human beings value their privacy. And Tiger is legendary for keeping his circle small and booting out those who violate his cone of silence.
However, here’s where I struggle with his statement:
There is a way to put an end to the “false, unfounded and malicious rumors” that are making the rounds because of “intrusive people”:
Have the damn interview.
The Florida Highway Patrol are just trying to do their due diligence in this instance, investigating the matter of an accident that required a call to 911.
The circumstances surrounding why Tiger left the house at the odd hour will have to be part of the line of questioning.
By continuing to decline to grant the interview with FHP, it makes it seem as if there is something untoward about why he was driving away from home at that hour.
But as a public figure, and one of the most famous athletes in the world, you would think Tiger Woods would realize why this is such a big deal.
Woods is no dummy. That much is true. I also would not have expected him to be so naïve as to think that asking for privacy will stop people from spreading rumors.
Here’s how you stop rumors: You either confirm them as fact or debunk them.
If you have nothing to hide, Tiger, then sit down with FHP and give a full account of what happened that evening that led to you hitting a tree and a fire hydrant.
If there are some skeletons in that closet trying to get out, in this day and age you are better off throwing open the door and letting the light hit the bones.
We are a forgiving people—as long as you tell the truth.
But the more you try to cover things up, the worse it is when you do finally come clean.
No amount of statements released on your website will substitute for us knowing what happened.
So Tiger, it’s time to step up to the tee and drive the truth home, straight and true.