Privacy for Tiger? Never

So through three skanky mistresses, three prepared statements and one crumpled SUV, the best golfer outside of Kim Jong-Il asks that we, the sporting public, do him one simple deed: respect his privacy.

Check that. He put it better.

"But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one’s own family," a statement on Tiger Woods' website reads. "Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions."

Should it? Should a famous man who runs afoul on his marriage be forced to plead at the feet of fans? No, probably not. But apparently Woods has been too busy having his shaft shined the last two decades to realize this is how celebrity works.

The man's success and fame has been equaled in sports by just three men, guys named Ruth, Ali and Jordan. For a legend of that ilk, privacy is the fountain of youth, a figment he'll never see no matter how long he waits, no matter how many Bermuda-sand bunkers he sifts through to find it.

Woods struck this deal shortly after he began to shave, once he became an August star on NBC at 18, once ol' Earl compared him to men like Ghandi and once the kid himself waxed poetic about chasing the Bear whose posters adorned his boyhood walls. No one brought into public with so many balloons and streamers would have privacy. When he followed through on the hype (Ghandi aside), Tiger's privacy vanished.

The post-Thanksgiving criticisms have torn down all sorts of actors in this drama. The girls are ho's. Elin Woods a domestic abuser. Tiger a pimp, a fraud and an obstructor of justice.

The great Jason Whitlock picked apart the last few arguments on Wednesday night, using all his bombast to craft a reasoned and biting portrayal of mainstream media members as frauds and hypocrites. Whitlock's stuff can be so damning, so pointed that it's hard to quibble. But in at least one sense he's wrong. Just like Tiger.

No, Woods is not beholden to explain his mess because he sponsors products or hits a golf ball better than those before him. And, yes, as Whitlock surmised, in a dagger thrown toward the Post's Sally Jenkins, any man would massage the law to ensure the wife he already embarrassed avoided persecution. There are a pair of valid statements.

But no one here should wear blinders. Woods and his wife created this story. They are rich, famous, beautiful (Elin is) and interesting. It involves sex, clubs in Vegas and enough sexting to make a quasi-prude 16-year-old blush. Some people may demand these answers, which they are not entitled to. But can't they desire them? And if the public thirsts for them, shouldn't folks pursue answers until they're found?

This is where Tiger will prove to have hit the ugliest shank. By seeking to maintain some semblance of privacy, the firestorm, or, as Mr. Buckner called it, the "curiosity," will only swell. When Woods speaks, the world will watch, even the men and women who've never worn an argyle sweater or bucket hat.

Whitlock said the media made Barry Bonds into a pariah because he failed to participate in their game. True. But that's not why people chase him still. Enough mystery surrounds Bonds to keep him relevant.

Take Mark McGwire, a man light years more popular, who slunk away from public life after cowering in front of congress. He will return, four long years later, at Cardinals spring training and people will sit in Jupiter waiting for him, wanting their answers.

And McGwire — he's no Tiger Woods.

No comments:

Post a Comment