Why Tiger Matters

NY Times:

Why Tiger Matters

Every week I learn something from writing this column. Last week’s column taught me that if you want to bask in the adulation of your readers, you should avoid sounding like you disapprove of Tiger Woods’s off-the-course behavior.
Many of the critical comments — and there were lots — were less pointed. The problem, some readers seemed to think, wasn’t so much that I was passing judgment on Woods (which, strictly speaking, I wasn’t), but that I was wasting everyone’s time by discussing his private life at all. For example: “Shouldn’t the likes of Robert Wright and the NYTimes be more concerned with the Catholic Church and deaf children or contractors in Kandahar? What is this, THE STAR???”
The short answer is: No. The longer answer is this week’s column. I want to defend the proposition that, in its own way, the Tiger Woods scandal is as important as Kandahar and the Catholic Church. Leaving aside the question of whether we should shower condemnation on Woods — a hard question that I don’t purport to have a compelling answer to — one thing I feel sure of is that this Tiger Woods thing matters.
Why? Because it embodies some other things that matter. For example:

  1. Monogamous marriage matters.
  1. Monogamous marriage matters especially in parts of society where it is weakest.
  1. Role models matter.
  1. Role models matter for adults, kind of.
  1. Moral sanction matters.

It’s good to see someone (esp. at NYT) discussing the Tiger Woods scandal in terms of its impact on marriage.

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NY Times:

It's good to see someone (esp. at NYT) discussing the Tiger Woods scandal in terms of its impact on marriage.

[/quote]

I think it would be best for monogamous marriage if the Tiger Woods scandal was never made public.

Tiger Woods is probably a role model for guys, just like any elite athlete would be. Now they know that this guy went and had sex with as many women as he could get his hands on (roughly speaking). They are not going to care about what some reporter thinks about the impact of Tiger Woods' behavior.

I watched a bit of Larry King today, and it had guys saying things along the lines of "I would be surprised if he hadn't done this" implying that any desirable man (such as if he's rich/powerful/successful) should be expected to cheat because he'll get the opportunities to do so.

While a lot of men cheat, as far as I remember the figure for male infidelity in marriage is something like 30%. There are bound to be plenty of attractive and desirable men in the 70% that doesn't cheat.

Elite athletes may also be running on a lot of testosterone which makes men more likely to cheat, and may not be representative of men in general.

The bottom line for me is that Tiger Woods is a man, not in the “oh, he’s a scumbag but all men cheat” way but a fully human being who has temptations thrown at him the likes of which most of us will never know. He fell; it happens. As the old saying goes,“The plural of anecdote is not data” and we should be very careful about repackaging gossip as inquiry into the state of monogamy.

Tiger Woods is can still be a good role model, along with his wife.

He made mistakes (like everyone does). However, he admitted to them, apologized for them, and he and his wife are going to stay together!! This is great!

Unfaithfullness doesn't have to be the end of a marraige, and its beautiful when a forgiveness as large as this one can be witnessed. I wish the best for both of them, and I hope that other couples struggling with infidelity can learn from their example!

Garyjohn, thank you for saying this. I’ve been saying this to everyone I know who discusses the Tiger situation. What was he supposed to do? Blow his head off on national TV? He’s demonstrated his remorse. His private life should be just that-PRIVATE

I sadly think that if Tiger Woods killed a family of 6 going to church in a vehicular homicide while he was drunk, people would be more forgiving.

What is the world coming to when the NY Times worries about monogamous marriage, role models, and moral sanctions?

Is this a glimmer of hope?

The whole Tiger story is nothing but gossip and is no one’s business except his own and his family. Tiger doesn’t, and shouldn’t, matter to you. His life should have no impact on yours or your relationship with others. The last time I checked, the strength of a marriage was built upon the individuals within the marriage :confused:

I think your partially right. Yes, his personal life shouldn’t matter to anyone. However, since he is a public figure, the companies that he has a buisness partnership with DO have the right to protect their name.

I would think that depends on which part of himself he is promoting. He’s selling himself as a pro athlete; and while his sponsors have a right to think as the please, I don’t think this affects his athletic career.

I don't believe this story should have ever been aired. We have a disgusting celebrity-worship culture in this world that prides itself on the percieved rights of the press and fans to stick their cameras and noses into the private lives of celebrities and it's this same culture that killed Princess Diana. Celebrities are under no obligation to be perfect just because someone in the world idolizes them and their privacy rights should not be waived just because they are "public figures". Further, this is in no way as important as the sex abuse scandal. Tiger Woods markets himself as a professional golfer; not as a moral compass.

The bottom line for me is that Tiger Woods is a man, not in the “oh, he’s a scumbag but all men cheat” way but a fully human being who has temptations thrown at him the likes of which most of us will never know. He fell; it happens.

… and he fell, and he fell, and he fell, and he fell ad nauseum … just cause he is rich and famous and thinks he can “get by with it” doesn’t mean the temptations were irresistable. One is temptation … multiple times are unrepentant pattern sin and the only reason he did “repent” was someone told on him. That is not repentance, that is trying to “CYA”.

The fact his wife has to “put up” with this or be put down because she divorces him is really sad. And even worse … what is/has he going to “bring” home to her and possibly put her life at risk.

Ditto on Jesse James …

I agree with the sportswriter John Feinstein, who made the comment that Tiger is entitled to a 'private life', but that as a public figure who received many endorsements based on who he is, he is not entitled to a 'secret life'.

Personally I never really cared for Tiger because I didn't care for his on-course behavior - swearing, club-throwing, etc. To me he was never a good ambassador for the game of golf. The relevations about his boorish behavior only make me care for him even less.

I question whether his desire to change is 100% sincere. I suspect that if he hadn't gotten caught, he would still be engaging in his prior behavior.

I wish him the best in his personal life. However, I suspect that with regard to his marriage the damage is irrepairable.

“mistake?” - I think not! A mistake is an unintentional action. I see plenty of intention here, over, and over, etc., bleeech!

A public figure is entitled to no private life. That includes politicians, pro athletes, and the like. Years ago when President Clinton had his “misadventure” with Monica Lewinsky, I heard many seemingly intelligent people brush the whole thing off by essentially saying that he wasn’t “on the clock;” i.e. he wasn’t busy trying to solve national and international problems. Hogwash!! Athletes, especially, who hold themselves up on almost a daily basis in front of their hardworking paying fans, and kids who would like to emulate them, have a higher degree of duty to be role models, both morally and ethically. Tiger and many others of his ilk owe apologies for coming up short when they spew vulgarities that sting the senses of their admirers, especially young, impressionable children. After all, what would we think if the Pope himself was out carousing in bars and casinos until all hours of the morning with people of questionable moral value? Would we say, “Oh, that’s alright. He deserves to have a little fun. After all, he is not on ‘the clock’.” This is nonsense. Remember Charles Barkley a few years back when he spit in the face of a fan, and did countless other numbskull acts that not only embarrassed his wife and kids, but also the entire organization? What was his lame excuse? He explained his behavior away by simply pleading, “I am not a role model for your kids.” Yeah, Charles, no kidding. There are too many others to mention who fall into the same category. The hungry, homeless man on the street is not a role model because he does not enjoy that high profile, but I treat him with even more respect than my so-called sports stars. Anyway, you get the idea, I hope.

Tiger is a cheater or is that cheetah…and this spoiled adulterer is having a field day smirking at we honest injuns! But nice guys dont always finish last as Leo the lip,Durocher used to declare!.Phil M took the match and from all of my info.he is an honest man who is mature and is thus faithful to his wife and children…maybe thats why he is always insulted by the sports announcers,most of whom could never make third string in sandlot sports!! No the establishment adores such behavior for in our face it goes. When Ingrid Bergman committed adultery a few years after she played a nun her career was finished…folks back then asumed a person was like their roles!.and felt betrayed by such outlandish and in your face behavior…now its glorified and a so what attitude is expected from we peasants!Remember when a sitting president of the United States was caught taking advantage of a feeble minded intern in the o… office he just changed the deft.of the word ‘sex’ and got away with it and other outrages…the only thing I bet on is professional wrestling…at least thats fair and honest…well gotta go ,its wed.and our local flat earth society meetings today…Pas

I don’t recall any Supreme Court decision which states that your right to privacy evaporates the moment some kid idolizes you.

Are you seriously comparing the moral obligations of the leader of an institution which claims moral superiority to the non-existant obligations of an athlete? Athletes have no obligation to your children.

EmperorNapolean, I was certain that someone would take me to task concerning my earlier post and you did, rightfully so. Perhaps I should not have painted with such a broad brush. So, maybe a little clarification is in order. I believe it was the great German philosopher Friedrich Hegel who described “world historic people” as those who have, for all practical purposes, been “called” to serve their countries at the highest levels. Such people have the highest moral standard and duty to represent their people in the most honorable and ethical manner. History has chronicled those who have failed miserably and their shame lives on in perpetuity. To a lesser extent, men and women leading large corporations in the capacity as CEO, or similar positions, owe a duty to their employees to reflect a positive company image consistent with almost irreproachable conduct, yes, even in their personal lives too. A fallen leader’s misdeeds ripple through an entire organization in such a negative way that not only is morale affected, but the value of company stock might also be impacted. And, to an even lesser extent, pro athletes and entertainers have an implied “obligation” to create positive role model images to their adoring fans who strive to emulate their heroes. Obviously, a goodly number haven’t the slightest interest in creating such an image. Indeed, many try their best to behave as bad as possible in as many ways as they can conjure up. Don’t most decent people shake their collective heads in disbelief when some knucklehead jock or entertainer acts stupidly seemingly on a daily basis? On the other hand, the ordinary everyday man on the street only has to be true and accountable for his/her own individual actions. Bottom line, I think that Tiger does owe an apology to his fans, especially to those who spend significant dollars because he is who he is, only to be disappointed and let down by his selfish behavior.

The public seems more interested in the private lives of celebrities now than in times past simply because it can be. News coverage, paparazzi, anonymous sources, and cable news stations abound.

JFK had mistresses in the White House. The press never covered it. Calvin Coolidge had no mistresses; the press wasn’t interested in his private life either way. Babe Ruth was famous on the baseball field. Off-field, he could drink and carouse all he wanted, the press didn’t care or report.

Old time movie stars such as Cary Grant or Deborah Kerr, were reported on by the Hollywood press, but the studios strictly controlled what information was allowed to be dispensed.

Maybe Elvis was the beginning of 24/7 coverage. He discovered that he could have no private life. But it still seems to me that even celebrities are entitled to a private life.

Tiger Woods is an overall depraved individual. His serial infidelities could just be seen as a mark of weakness, but what to say about such a rich man not tipping waitstaff at restaurants or caddies at golf courses? I live two miles away from Tiger Woods and that is a notorious fact around here, at least among the meek. Do a search for "Tiger Woods tips" and you will see for yourself.

I pray that, through grace, Tiger Woods will change, but his Buddhist religion does not make that easy. And as long as he does not, a harsh judgment must be made of his character. Why does that matter? Because he is a major icon in our society, someone who is held out as an example of success. After all, who has not seen those moronic Accenture commercials urging us to "be a Tiger?" Far be that from me; a lifetime of wealth and fame is not worth one day of separation from God, let alone an eternity.

Very good.FDR was unfaithful to the lovely Eleanor and the establishment media kept quiet about it…Rock Hudson was more for boys then gals,and it was also kept a deep dark secret…till ole lover boy Rock died from Aids!..Mike Jackson liked to sleep with little boys he admistted on the boob tube,lost a multi-million dollar law suit re: molestation…yet his estate and music is becomming a cottage industry!..Yes the truth should come out then if the fans still want to support the guy or gal so be it!!! Pres.Clinton took advantage of a simple minded intern and he was never punished for it,in fact he makes mucho dinaro on speaking tours dispensing advice on how he cares and all…last nite I told my wife I could not sleep and thus was going to the golf course to hit a few…she called out.'but ,but honey,its 1am in the morning…" I answered,dont worry I wont get bored…" seriously if I were there that day I would have tossed a rock at the whore…for I have always been faithful to my lovely wife and thats because I am a square…TR fashion…Pas…

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