Tiger Woods is Guilty, but So are You
By this point, you’d have to be hiding under a rock to not know more than you probably want to about Tiger Woods and his string of affairs. The interesting part of this to me is the forced, robotic speech he gave a few weeks ago, which was basically considered his public apology for the whole sordid mess.
I don’t think it’s any of our business what goes on in this guy’s private life. I don’t give a shit about golf, so I don’t think he “owes the sport” anything, either. But Nike’s not paying me the gross domestic product of a small country to shill for them, so if Woods and his public relations people thought it was necessary to make a statement like this, fine. I’ll give Woods credit for admitting to multiple affairs in front of his mom.
Most of his prepared statement didn’t really register with me, it was your typical “I’m sorry I got caught” mea culpa, which most people will either forget or forgive once Tiger’s out on the golf course again. He did say one thing I couldn’t believe, though. He basically said that he didn’t function under a different set of rules as anyone else. This is bullshit. Well intentioned bullshit, but bullshit all the same.
Professional athletes, or really anyone with a ridiculous amount of money in their checking accounts, do live under a different set of rules. I suppose this is easy to do when you can buy your way out of any problem. It’s a form of intoxication, being drunk on the power that that kind of financial security allows you in our society and the feeling of invincibility it generates. This can lead to other forms of intoxication: drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.
But it’s not just the athletes that are to blame for these situations. I mentioned earlier the possible intoxicating effects of the money and fame that these people have. I submit that the athlete-fan relationship is one of mutual dependency. Fans are just as guilty of being figuratively (and in some cases, literally) intoxicated by the benefits of fandom. Many people use sports as an escape, me among them. I’ll admit to getting a little euphoric charge every time one of my teams of choice wins a game.
And most professional athletes are at least aware of the fact that keeping people watching their respective sport keeps the money flowing. If the entire country stopped watching the NFL, buying tickets to games and buying jerseys and other paraphernalia, the NFL would quickly go out of business.
To go back to Mr. Woods again, yes, the fact that he’s repeatedly cheated on his wife is reprehensible, but people around the country and the world cheat on significant others on a daily basis. Woods’ infidelity only draws attention because he is a commodity. We, as a society, have lost perspective on things like this in the interest of our own entertainment. Until the effects on Woods’ wife and young children become more important than asking if he’ll play The Masters, we all need to look in the mirror.
“Hi, I’m John, and I’m a sport-a-holic.”