For the past several weeks, Tiger Woods dominated the news-media culture in a way that few sports figures had ever done before. Everyone had an opinion, an inside story, a new twist, a voicemail recording, a picture, and something to say. Anyone with a platform had given their two cents on what will likely go down as the story of the year.
I chose to stand back and watch from the sidelines, so to speak, while the media attacked the story akin to a pack of hyenas ravaging a carcass. I let as much information come out prior to forming an opinion either way. Like we all do, I allowed different reports and different viewpoints help formulate mine.
Now that Woods is no longer a "trending topic" on Twitter for the first time since the news of his car accident broke, I felt that the story has died down enough for me make an attempt to bring some closure to the drama that has become Woods' life. I won't go into a long diatribe about the poor judgments that he made, nor will I go on vehemently defending him and excusing his actions due to his stature and significance to the sports world—a forum that I love. Instead, I'll try to keep it in perspective, short, and sweet.
Male athletes, by and large, live a lifestyle that is very unique and foreign to the majority of ours. It is time for the mainstream public to quit being so naive in their assumptions that young to middle-aged men with millions of dollars that spend three-quarters of the year, sometimes more, on the road for various sports related events (games, appearances, etc) go to their hotel room at night and watch an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond." It just doesn't happen that way. These men are in a position of power that few are accustomed to. Wealth, fame, and access to everything—including women—makes it very difficult to live a straight-edged life that many of us conform to.
It does not give them an excuse, but it is the reality. Knowing the world that they are exposed to, it is time for the public to stop dropping their jaws when they hear about Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods, or the next megastar cheating on their wife. The same applies for Senators, Congressmen, and any man with wealth and power that puts him in the top 5% of their industry.
Let me reiterate: It is not something I condone, but something that I understand because it is the reality.
Secondly, I've read several articles claiming Tiger Woods' career will never be the same and his endorsement money will be gone for a very long time.
Wrong, and wrong.
If you know anything about Woods, it is that he got to where he is because of his second-to-none work ethic, his focus and determination, emphasis on the latter. This is a man who feels there are no obstacles on the golf course that he cannot overcome. When he returns, and I predict it will be sometime in 2011, he will be in a ruthless mode that we have yet to see—and I sympathize with his competition. Athletes like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are so dominant at what they do that when they decide to take their game to another level, there is no stopping them.
As far as endorsements go, companies always, always link themselves with champions. Kobe Bryant returned and won a Most Valuable Player award and an NBA Championship. Do you think Nike isn't backing him? Visit Nike.com and take a glance at who is on the front of the website. The once accused rapist is back to being the face of the NBA.
Woods getting all of his endorsements back is a guarantee.
Lastly, the most troubling aspect of the whole story isn't Woods' career, or his loss of revenues, or the impact his indefinite leave will have on the sport of golf. The ordeals that Tiger, Elin and their children will have to endure over the next several months, probably longer, is where the sympathy is needed. Regardless of how much or how little money one may have, a family is a sanctuary that supersedes all. The fact that the Woods' family is in serious trouble, and two children who don't understand the magnitude of what is going on around them, is the tragedy.
Picture a car accident on the side of the road during your morning commute. What do we always do? Look over, assess the damage, draw our conclusions as to who was at fault, hope everyone is alright, and move on with the remainder of our commute—forgetting about it by the time we arrive at our place of work.
It's time that we do the same with Tiger Woods. Stop buying the tabloid magazines, don't go to your website of choice to find more juicy details, and go back to living your life while letting Woods' and his family try to put their home back together.
It's the holiday season. Do the right thing. Move on.