Sunday, February 21, 2010

Apologies that appall (A word about Woods)

I'm not always up to date on the news, but what qualifies as news is often outrageous. I refer particularly to celebrities apologizing for some horrendous thing that they've done. In the last few years Michael Richards, Mel Gibson and Isaiah Washington have all had to go on national television and explain why they used offensive language. But with the exception of Michael Richards, these offenses were done in private, why should they have to apologize to the world? Also, what possible sincerity could be in such an apology for people who's career seems to be on the line. I mean, what they do in public is worth millions of dollars to them, of course they'd apologize!

Which brings me to Tiger Woods. Why in the world does he have to make a public statement to me because he cheated on his wife? Why does the entire world have to get in on this circus? What bothers me more than anything is the hypocrisy of it all. The western world is hardly a country that values fidelity in marriage. At least not enough to justify this outlash against Tiger.

Surely you've all have heard of Ashley Madison, the online dating service for people looking to have an affair. Their slogan is, "Life is short, have an affair!" There are allegedly 5.3 million users on that site. Most surveys you read will say that 22% of people admit to being unfaithful to their current partner and about 50% will admit to having been unfaithful at some point in their life. That means that among the people who have an opinion about Tiger Woods, possibly half of them have already cheated on someone, they just had the luxury of dealing with it in private.

So what makes Tiger Woods, a golfer, subject to such a severe backlash? Many people have suggested racism may play a role. Seems too simple to me. Bill Cosby and Michael Jordan come to mind as Black people who seemed to fly under the radar during their affairs. Hugh Grant, Bill Clinton, they all had some media attention while involved in gross affairs. Is it because Tiger Woods is a Black man with a white wife? Is it because the women he cheated with were ugly? Or is it all of that, combined with the fact that he gets paid billions of dollars to play golf all day? That would certainly make a racist angry, wouldn't it?

Maybe he owes his friends and family an apology. Certainly his wife and kids. Maybe if he were a pastor? But a golfer? Tiger Woods said in his public statement, "I thought I could get away with it! I'm rich!" This sadly is the most reasonable thing he could have said! It's the most honest thing he could have said, and all things being equal, he probably should have "gotten away with it."

Don't get me wrong, in my opinion, infidelity is one of the most despicable things someone can be involved in. But it's not that that dissapoints me about Tiger. It's seeing him go up there with his tail between his legs as if he has to answer to the world for doing something that the world seems to be okay with. This was Tiger's chance to really do something great. The man has billions of dollars, you know what I say? Hold your press conference, go up to that podium, take a few steps left, pull down your pants and invite the entire planet to kiss your big, black, billionaire backside! (Ten dollars a smooch, 1 cheek per person, no tongue please.) Let he who is without sin, give said backside a swift kick but clearly very few people in the world would qualify for that. So I say pucker up!