Tiger Woods' Scandal Isn't the First, and Won't Be the Last for Athletes

Patrick HanlonContributor IDecember 2, 2009

MARANA, AZ - FEBRUARY 26:  Tiger Woods of USA looks dejected during the second round of Accenture Match Play Championships at Ritz - Carlton Golf Club at Dove Mountain on February 26, 2009 in Marana, Arizona.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

When I was driving and heard Tiger's voicemail to Jaimee Grubbs, I was shocked. This is one of the most squeaky clean athletes of our time. He's has two young kids and a beautiful wife. Why would he jeopardize all that?

Then reality set back in. Tiger is no different than any other professional athletes in this era. They are all the product of a sports obsessed culture that rarely holds athletes accountable.

Let me explain. The odds of becoming a professional athlete are 22,000 to 1 . That means if you're the best player on your team, even your league, the shot of you going pro is quite slim.

What does that have to do with anything? Well when these superstar athletes come along, people coddle them from a young age. They soon learn that perfecting their game is the priority.

Here's where the problem comes in. Working at their craft usually comes at the expense of other things. It starts with not doing a homework assignment because they were too tired from practice. Then it snowballs into a full fledged cheating scandal, like the one at Florida State.

It only escalates at the next level. Just look at some recent cases of high profile professional athletes finding themselves in hot water:

Kobe Bryant and the alleged rape case

Michael Vick and his dog fighting ring  

Alex Rodriguez and his alleged affair

At the time of all of these instances, these guys were idols of their sports.  They still felt the need to test their perceived invincibility. All three have since felt the sting of testing those boundaries.

I compare it to drinking in the dorms my freshman year at college. At first we were so scared about just getting beers in through the front door. By the third week of school, we were throwing themed parties in the suites. Once you see how easy it is, the sky is the limit.

Pretty soon we got sloppy, and eventually my friends and I got caught. I only had to worry about writing a one page essay about alternatives to drinking on Friday nights. These guys had to deal with the scrutiny of making their mistakes in the day and age of the 24 hour news cycle.

Tiger has apologized , and will soon be doing what he does on the links: win. The public thinks this will serve as a lesson to all professional athletes to carefully consider questionable behavior.

It's actually a wakeup call to the society that athletes will continue to behave badly because no one puts them in check from the moment they show their incredible talent.