I watched the Tiger Woods apology today. I didn't really plan to but I sort of half jokingly checked CNN to see if it would make their crawl...not only did it make the crawl, they carried it live! So I ended up watching. I was struck by a few things during his statement and they have been bouncing around in my brain all day so now you get them.
I am pretty firmly in the camp that Tiger Woods didn't owe me an apology. I'm not married to him, I don't sponsor him, I wasn't one of his mistresses and I am not his kid. So to me, nothing is due. And I sort of wanted him to say that today. To come out say, "Kiss my ass" and drop the mic. But there was a part of me that understood a little bit about where people felt they deserved more. There was one caller yesterday on the morning show I listen to who said his issue was with the Tiger Woods Foundation and the kids Tiger has been mentoring through that organization. He said that Tiger told them all that the game of golf was honorable and that they needed to play the game with honor and to live their lives that way as well. So now those kids are hearing the news and are kind of left feeling suckered. So okay, those kids and their parents deserve an apology as well. But the rest of us? Still no.
But I watched the news conference anyway. And I was fascinated by it. It hit a lot of the standard notes of a mea culpa conference, but with some really interesting differences. First off his wife was not standing next to him at the podium. I was glad to see it. That is one of the things that always blows my mind in these sorts of things. The wronged spouse standing up there by their man. Usually stoically, sometimes offering reassuring pats or glances. I always wonder why they do it. They have to feel humiliated, betrayed, angry, sad, who knows what all is going through their heads and then to stand up there like nothing is wrong? No way. So I was glad to see that Elin wasn't there. But his mother was. The camera kept cutting to her in the audience. Sitting stone faced. Looking every inch the mom who has walked her boy down the street to apologize to the neighbor for breaking their window. Stone faced, serious, not giving an inch. Until he was done speaking and then she hugged him for a good long time and you could see him break down and cry in his mother's arms. Then her face softened she hugged him and patted him on the back and then pushed him away to face the rest of the people there. Go Mom.
There was the "going back to my religion" piece. But instead of the typical Judaeo-Christian beliefs we normally get, "I've prayed and Jesus forgives" we got Buddhist teachings. He spoke about how he had fallen away from his beliefs and began to live for things instead of people and how this really was the start of his problems. He talked about how he needed to get back to those practices. Again, Go Mom.
We got the "I've been to rehab" part. This is necessary now it seems. You screw up you go to rehab. I always look at it skeptically. Like it's just something to check off the PR box. Okay, they've done rehab so now they are better. It's always the drugs or the alcohol or the sex addiction that is at fault. But with Tiger we got something else today. He stood there and claimed responsibility for it all. He was the one that screwed up and he explained why. He felt that the rules didn't apply to him, that he had worked hard and deserved to do what he wanted. Wow. I have said this about professional athletes for years. That we as a society lead them to believe that. We treat them like they are different and then wonder why they don't feel the need to play by our rules. But to hear him acknowledge that? To own it? I was impressed.
And then came the part I really had wanted to hear. He took the media and through them all of us to task. He said, basically, Look, I screwed up. Me. My fault, my mistake, my errors. Now leave my family alone. Stop writing things about Elin, stop following my children. I understand you are curious but it's not any of your business if Elin and I stay married, that is just between us. It's not any of your (my, our) business. I like that. Because it's not. He is a golfer, let him golf. He made huge mistakes in his marriage, let him and his wife work on that however they choose to. And leave the kids alone. This is going to be hard enough on them. I have mentioned before how I worked for the sons of a prominent Albuquerque business man who died while at his mistress' house. Now these guys (and their younger brother and sister) knew that most of the people they met on a daily basis knew how their dad had died and what he had been doing at the time. There were people who would even make jokes about it to them. Unbelievable right? But people did. Tiger's kids just entered that hell. Now instead of just hearing about how well their dad plays golf they will get their share of grief over his philandering. Leave them alone, it's gong to be hard enough for them.
Up until this point I have not been a huge fan of Tiger Woods. I don't play golf, I don't watch golf, I find golf to be boring, frankly. I understood he was huge ratings for the game and could appreciate the money he made through sponsorships, but he didn't interest me. When all of this started to blow up all over the media and you couldn't avoid hearing the count go up every day, it was interesting. But interesting to me in the sheer number. The number of people that had to have known and not said anything, this was going on for years, how in the world did he get away with it for so long? And then once one woman came forward the rest fell all over themselves to get their cut. But again, not that interested. It was nothing to do with me, don't care. But today, today Tiger Woods showed me that he might be someone to watch. Someone with a story to him. Now we will just see if he decides to come back into the public eye and share any more of that story.