Sunday, February 21, 2010
Tiger finally ended his silence on Friday in a 13 minute speech that conveyed his disappointment in himself, his regret for his actions and several other views that seemed somewhat extraneous. While I was somewhat disappointed in Tiger's lack of information on his playing future, I was very impressed with how thorough his statement was and how genuine he seemed. In typical Tiger fashion, he was very well prepared for this statement and dominated with the whole world watching. I originally wrote Tiger off as just biding his time until he returns to golf, but now I think him very sincere in his efforts to improve himself and very much accept his apologies.
It takes a lot for a man to call himself to the carpet. Now try doing it in front of your closest friends and family, and millions upon millions of people worldwide. I think it has been understated just how courageous and magnanimous it was of Tiger Woods to make this statement with basically the whole world watching. As fans, we sort of took it for granted that Tiger owed us an explanation and that one would be forthcoming. He is a very private person as we know, a point that I have criticized him on in the past, and Tiger did not have to do it this way. The fact that he made himself this open for public judgement says a lot of his much-questioned character. He fucked up, and now he has made himself accountable for it.
Though some criticized Tiger for preparing a "canned" speech, I for one thought that the core of the speech, his public acknowledgment of his mistakes, was very sincere. His eyes were watery and his voice sounded choked up as he delivered what I thought was the best part of his speech;
"The issue involved here was my repeated irresponsible behavior. I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable, and I am the only person to blame. I stopped living by the core values that I was taught to believe in. I knew my actions were wrong, but I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled."
Listen folks, you can just speak off the cuff for 13 minutes and remember exactly what you are supposed to say. Tiger is an athlete, not a politician. The fact that he had a written speech in front of him means nothing. His comments were extremely heartfelt despite having them written down. Any talk of him being a robot or being insincere is just baloney. He said exactly what he needed to, "I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did is not acceptable..." How can you possibly fault him for having the guts to say that in front of everybody important to him?
Despite my overwhelming praise of Tiger, there were a few points in the speech that I thought were kind of cheesy or unnecessary. I think we all can agree that this was bar none one of the lamest and most awkward things we have ever seen. This was almost certainly suggested by a PR specialist or something, and just carried out poorly by Tiger. Again, he's not a politician, and you could tell he was nervous. He meant what he said though. Secondly, what was all that Buddhism nonsense? The day Tiger Woods is a practicing Buddhist, that's the day I'm an astronaut. Seriously though, if Tiger is a Buddhist I think that that is the first time many life long Tiger fans have ever heard anything about it. It seemed kind of trivial to throw in there as an example of his "finding himself" and again was probably at the behest of a PR person. Finally, we have Tiger addressing first the rumors that Elin hit him, and secondly that he has taken steroids. There was really no need to include either of these statements in his speech (though I must admit his face did look a little different than usual. Might have just been because he wasn't wearing a hat) and I especially found the steroid inclusion very odd. I hope this is not a sign of forthcoming information.
Above all of the weird things Tiger chose to include in his speech, I found his exclusion of his future golfing plans to be the most disappointing. As a golf fan, that is all I really wanted to know coming out of this whole thing. I wish he would have told us for sure when he was returning. I am still planning for Tiger to be back by the Master's though.
I don't understand how anyone can be critical of Tiger Woods' sincerity after his apology on Thursday afternoon. He admitted his mistakes, apologized profusely, and has taken steps to better himself. You try doing that in front of everybody you know, as well as millions of people you don't. Despite his overwhelming sincerity in my mind, there are still some detractors out there. I was watching ESPN the other day and a segment aired in which Colleen Dominguez gauged public opinion at the Match Play Championship in Arizona. One woman was interviewed and very acrimoniously slammed Tiger (here is the video. the woman's commentary was removed. hopefully b/c she realized that she is an idiot and asked for it to be. If anyone can find the video though please send it to me. Her name was Michelle something and she was wearing a white Nike One Vr hat), saying he was "insincere" and that she was "done with him." This angered me to no end. Who the hell are you lady? Have you ever made a mistake in your life? How would you like it if you apologized for your mistake and everybody that you knew decided that they were done with you? My god, get off your high horse for five seconds; you're not perfect either you moron. Tiger Woods cheated, that is painfully clear to us now. But what he has done in order to make amends for his mistakes are more than the rest of us would probably ever have the courage to do. I think that he deserves our forgiveness, and everybody should want to see Tiger back on tour as soon as his humanly possible.