Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods- He Doesn't Owe Me An Apology

Commentary

At 11:00am on Friday February 19th I wasn't one of the throngs glued to my TV to watch Tiger Woods make his statement regarding his extramarital affairs and his sexual addiction. I told myself I had things to do....but when the clock struck 11, I did have my car radio tuned into the presser....and after my 10 minute trip to TARGET was completed I stayed in my car to hear the final four minutes of Woods statement.

No....I was not "above it all".

It is commendable that Woods tried to make things right, and that he apologized to wife Elin, to his children, his friends, his family, and to all whom he may have hurt. But then he seemed to be offering an apology to not only all who were watching and listening, but to the rest of the nation...and the world....as well.

I for one have this to say.....Mr. Woods, you don't owe me an apology. Yes, you hurt your wife and your loved ones....you owe them an apology, and even more contrition. But for Woods to offer an apology to the public....and for those in the public who feel they are owed one from Woods....you are way, way, way off base.

Eldrick "Tiger" Woods is a prominent athlete who everyone once thought was squeaky clean All American role model, and proved to be a serial philanderer. He was caught, and then put through the modern equivalent of the stocks and the pillory....he becomes the butt of jokes by late night comics, he is the subject of constant scrutiny by the tabloid press and media, his estranged wife, kids, and mother are stalked by paparazzi. We really haven't evolved all that much from our Pilgrim and Puritan forebearers; we still practice the public humiliation of adulterers and cheats, only we don't do it in a town square anymore.

Yes Woods became a role model to millions, and yes he let them down....but it was the public who chose to idolize this man.....and the money machine that was behind this presentation is partially culpable in this public deception- they helped to enable a man with an addiction. Gillette and AT&T, and many others, threw millions of dollars at Tiger Woods. He won tournaments and became a legend before age 30, and the product endorsers helped sell the legend as an American Icon. And as Americans always seem to do....they took the bait.

But I ask this; isn't it the epitome of a perceived self importance that any individual outside the immediate circle of Tiger Woods feels they deserve an apology from him because he cheated on his wife? Adding to this mindboggling mentality is Woods actually apologizing to the known universe for something that at its base is a family matter.

The bottom line ....Tiger needed to grow up. And so do too many people who are wasting their lives pontificating and pointing fingers at his guilt, and those who can't get enough of watching this man emerge from the train wreck he caused.

The ancients believed that the gods had conflicts in their realm, and often walked about in our world at will, sometimes to resolve issues with each other, or with mere mortals. We moderns don't have "gods" in our world....but we do have a deified class that we call celebrities....once defined by the late Merv Griffin as "someone who is famous for being famous".

I believe it was George C. Scott who once said that the only thing he owed the public was a good performance. He was a hard drinking and often temperament guy who could care less about the trappings of stardom or awards....he once won an Oscar, and never showed up to pick it up, and never accepted it.

And Tiger Woods....he owes us a good performance on the golf course, but much more than that to those in his family and the ones closest to him.

Today Tiger Woods talked about the meaning of Buddhism in his life, and how he needed to get back to its principles. Many years ago I read a book that presented an old wisdom- many who idolized Woods should examine it. The book's title came from an ancient saying attributed to a Zen Master...."If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."

Of course, that is meant in symbolic terms, a metaphor if you will...it was not meant to say "go murder a teacher or your mentor". It means that being a follower of someone can be counterproductive, or even destructive. You may think you know him but you never really can. However, each of us has it in ourselves to be better people, even if we do not feel it or see it. But you must seek it internally. We must keep trying.

That philosophy might be in play as of now for Tiger Woods....and maybe it should be for the rest of us as well.

2 comments:

Sue said...

I don't get it, he owes us nothing, he owes his wife and family the world! It's all so personal, ya know? Someone today was saying he shoulda done it BIG, invited thousands to hear, and then ask questions. What kind of questions? What more do we need to know? How many times a week did ya do it? Just like what the rethugs did to Clinton. After that horrendous display of hypocrisy it's amazing to me how they could even come back into power, but they did, and boy did they!

Hugh Jee From Jersey said...

Sue- we already know too much about his private life. Celebrity culture is such big business that Americans have become conditioned to being able to pry into the lives of just about anyone in the public eye, and to feel they have the God given right to do so.

Sadly, we've really devolved into a nation of voyeurs- and many people think there's nothing wrong with it.

There's no harm in a little celebrity gossip- we all indulge ourselves to some degree. But this has just gotten to the point of creepiness....Tabloid America INC.

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