Saturday, February 20, 2010

Last Tiger Post (Until the Next One)

Much hullabaloo about Tiger's speech.  Reading a statement rather than speaking with notes, controlled audience, no questions, etc.  While I am not quite as cynical as Bill Simmons, ESPN's SportsGuy, I think Tiger might be a smidge sincere in all of this, but Simmons is probably more right than not when he suggests that many athletes are bad at monogamy and it is probably not something that is a disease requiring therapy. 

But the point that BS really gets right is that the event directly contradicted a key theme in the statement--that Tiger has to play by ordinary rules just like everyone else.  With no opportunity for questions, he gets to control the situation, even though he says that he needs to live like others, within the constraints imposed upon society.  But here he is imposing constraints on the press, leaving much unasnwered.  While he is right to protect his kids (although keeping his pants zipped would have been better protection), he should have been willing to answer questions now that he will certainly be asked later.  He could have skipped the questions that are too touchy (what did he do with whom) but satisfied some of the curiosity about some of the stuff.  Instead, he can be accused of being robotic.

Of course, much of this will fade once he wins again and again.  After all, Kobe Bryant was tried for rape, and is now quite popular since the Lakers won last year.  Americans love a winner, even if they are quite flawed.

One last note: the most shocking part of the statement (other than the refusal to specify anything about golf) is that he said he was a Buddhist.  I pondered via twitter whether this will cost him more than the rest of it.  That is, while Americans are not hostile to Buddhists the way that many are to Islam (and not just Americans either), it is still mighty strange to the average non-dead American.  It will be interesting to see how that part of this plays out.  But, of course, that part might be ignored, since we are more interested in sex (the partners) and violence (the golf club/car interaction).

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