Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, Mark McGwire: Why Their Words Mean Nothing

James AmblerCorrespondent IFebruary 20, 2010

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 19:  Tiger Woods makes a statement from the Sunset Room on the second floor of the TPC Sawgrass, home of the PGA Tour on February 19, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Woods publicly admitted to cheating on his wife Elin Nordegren but maintained that the issues remain 'a matter between a husband and a wife.'  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

At this point, it’s very obvious that Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, and Mark McGwire are all very sorry. Sorry they got caught, that is.

Beyond that, it’s impossible for all of us to know just how sorry they really are. Only they truly know how remorseful they are right now.

We, as sports fans, can't tap into their brains to find out exactly what they're thinking. Their actions are the only way to prove to us just how sorry they are.

All we know for sure right now is that these three superstar athletes are each guilty of a very different  “crime.” And we know they each will do anything, and say anything, to restore some of their reputation. 

As I watched Tiger yesterday, I couldn’t help but ask myself why we had to wait almost three months for his “apology.” Three months? For this? OK, a week, or even a month would have been reasonable. But three months?

Three months for him to read a 14-minute speech? Did it take him three months to write it? He didn’t speak off the cuff. All his words were printed right in front of him.  And he didn’t take questions afterwards. So why did we have to wait so long for something that wound up being so little?

It should take all of us years to officially accept Tiger’s apology. It should certainly take Elin even longer. Why? Because it will take Tiger years to prove he is, in fact, a changed man. Tiger deserves the same “wait and see” approach that we, as sports fans, should give to Mike Vick and “Big Mac.” 

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Coming clean is easy. Easy after the fact.

Sure, Tiger said all the right things. After getting caught. But why did it take him three months to do it?

Sure, Vick said all the right things. After getting caught. After repeatedly lying about dog-fighting to the NFL and law enforcement officials. Let’s not forget, Michael Vick still might be electrocuting dogs and financing hundreds of other equally sick people to do the same. Thankfully, an accomplice implicated him in the crimes, threw him “under the bus,” so to speak. 

And sure, Big Mac said all the right things. After getting caught. But why on earth did it take him nearly five years after that fateful showing on Capitol Hill in Spring 2005 to do it? Five years?

Will Tiger Woods stay faithful for as long as he wears that wedding ring?

Will Michael Vick stay free of all dog-fighting connections for the rest of his life?

Will Mark McGwire no longer duck for cover whenever anything but “softball” questions come his way? He’ll be in the limelight every day now as St. Louis’ new hitting instructor. So, it shouldn’t take too long for a reporter to play “hardball” with the former Home Run King.    

Time will tell.    

Time will tell how much these men have learned from their “crimes.”

Because for Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, and Mark McGwire, their actions over the next several years will speak louder than all their words. 

Because right now, those words don’t mean a damn thing.