Friday, December 4, 2009

Stop Painting Tiger Woods as the Victim

I've tried to ignore all the recent hoopla about Tiger Woods, his car accident, and the fact that it was the result of a fight with his wife precipitated by the fact that she found out Woods cheated on her.

But I do listen to sports radio occasionally, and the shills for ESPN bending over backwards to defend Tiger have gotten ridiculous. Yesterday I was subjected to a reporter attacking goofy Scandanavian golfer Jesper Parnevik for expressing regret that he introduced Tiger and Elin Nordegren to each other and suggesting that next time she might try using a driver on him. The reporter tried to sound as appalled as possible and spun her reaction by saying that such comments were just cruel to Elin by keeping the public spectacle public.

Uh, I think that public shaming and ridicule is exactly what is supposed to happen when somebody does something as asinine as cheating on his wife. Especially when that someone is as rich and influential as Woods. He's not going to be harmed any other way but in the court of public opinion.

And who thinks that will last? He's going to stay rich, remain popular with his rabid fans, and be forgiven by the public the next time he wins a major or cuts a check to charity.

This is just part of the normal cycle of shaming and humiliation that anybody who does something like this and gets caught faces in their social circle as a result of their bad behavior, be that immediate family, coworkers, or friends. People talk about them both behind their backs and to their faces. They get mocked and joked about.

It just so happens that because Woods is a major public figure worldwide, his "circle" is vast and thus the shaming process takes place very publicly. And Woods has clearly pursued this iconic status by accepting huge amounts of money to endorse products that have nothing to do with his sport and everything to do with how people perceive his character.

That being said, I have no personal interest in reading about Woods or his marriage. I don't care about his dirty laundry. Certainly if he shows contrition and mends his ways he will deserve forgiveness.

But it irritates me to have people waving his dirty laundry around and proclaiming that it's really clean as a whistle. And forgiving somebody before they've really been punished is a great way to ensure that rich, powerful, arrogant people remain rich, powerful and arrogant. Everyone should have to face some consequences when they do something stupid.

Just let the man take his deserved lumps for being an ass and stop acting like he is the injured party in this whole affair.