ESPN Irresponsibly Links Tiger Woods To PEDs

Robert DentonCorrespondent IDecember 15, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 11:  A TAG Heuer watch billboard with an image of golf legend Tiger Woods is shown  on December 11, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Woods announced that he will take an indefinite break from professional golf to concentrate on repairing family relations after admitting to infidelity in his marriage. Woods has a TAG Heuer professional golf watch model named for him.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
David McNew/Getty Images

In ESPN's day long coverage of Tiger Woods' connection to Dr. Anthony Galea, the network did not make one reference to Woods' public comments regarding drug testing on the PGA tour.

The Palm Beach Post reported today that Woods has "long been an advocate for drug testing, even while the PGA Tour resisted it years ago."  Tiger himself told the Associated Press, as early as 2006, "I don't know when we could get that implemented," referring to drug testing by the PGA, "tomorrow would be fine with me."  "I think we should be proactive instead of reactive.  I just think we should be ahead of it and keep our sport as pure as it can be."

At no point, in ESPN's reports were these comments made known to viewers.  They did however make a point of calling the connection between Dr. Galea and Woods, "tangential," which in some definitions would give the viewer the impression that some kind of ill relationship between the arrest of Dr. Galea and Tiger Woods, who was his patient on at least four occasions, existed.

Instead, the network chose to interview Michael S. Schmidt, the writer of the NY Times article that broke the story on Dr. Galea.  While efforts were made to include Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, who flatly denied any relationship between the event (Galea's arrest) and Woods, the implication was obvious.  In fact, the title of a video used on ESPN to support the story was titled, "No evidence yet Tiger did anything wrong," further implying that there would be.

They went on to imply that there was reason to believe that because the therapy utilized by Dr. Galea in his treatment of Woods could be done anywhere, and by any doctor, there was reason to believe that there was an impropriety involved.  Schmidt was even asked on Sportscenter why IMG, which represents Woods, and denies any involvement in the relationship between the two gentlemen, would think it best to have Galea go to Orlando when the procedure of "blood spinning" could be done by anyone.  Schmidt responsibly replied, "I don't know, you would have to ask them."

To be fair, ESPN Reporter, T.J. Quinn did make the statement that, "...there is nothing to suggest that Tiger has done anything wrong." However, he then went on to say that Dr. Galea is, "like a lot of other physicians, who are pushing the edge of science and what's acceptable under the law."  What?  In the sentence immediately prior to this one Quinn said that this procedure "has become a common therapy among American athletes."  Is this commonly accepted or is it pushing the edge of legal practice?

While the network was very careful not to openly say that Tiger Woods is using PEDs and that Dr. Galea supplies them to him and many other athletes, including Dara Torres, who was also reported to have a relationship with the doctor, they were certainly reckless in the implications their reports made.

This, unfortunately, is standard operating procedure for the network.