By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Tiger Woods doesn't owe me an apology. And, excepting the unlikely possibility that you have "Woods" or "Nordegren" in your name, he doesn't owe you one either. (And judging by what the sports radio experts say, he probably doesn't think he owes us one either.) But at 11am Friday an apology is what we're going to get, in a televisual press release that will no doubt get presidential break-into-our-regular-programming treatment. And given that, just about the only thing he owes us is to show new found self-discipline and keep himself from going the full Mark Sanford.
Don't get me wrong. By all accounts, Tiger Woods is a cad, or as my bloleague Laura Chapin put it back in the first blush of scandal, a "lying slimeball." But the last time I checked Woods' sins involved serial infidelity, not, say, murder, or treason, or even cheating in the relationship he shares with the general public--his golf career. That is to say, his transgressions were of a private nature and really none of our business. Except that because Tiger is a business, his personal life becomes everyone's business.
And the show must go on. And this show is the fall and rise of Tiger Woods, in three acts. The first act was the fall; the second act is the proffered public apology; and the final act will come when Tiger next tees off. How predictable was this turn of events? Consider what my colleague Rick Newman wrote in December:
Just one question: Why would Tiger Woods ever quit golf?
Oh, right: He got caught cheating on his wife. Okay, multicheating. But since when does that stop a multimillion-dollar enterprise-which is what Tiger Woods really is-from moving ahead with business? David Letterman got caught multicheating and never lost a single sponsor or even broke stride.
Remember the Letterman scandal? I had forgotten it. Rick continued:
Newt Gingrich. Eliot Spitzer. Britney Spears. Winona Ryder. Robert Downey Jr. Hugh Grant. Mel Gibson. See the pattern emerging? All violated a so-called social norm, bottomed out, and bounced back. Even Michael Vick-whose illegal dogfighting ring was especially grotesque-picked up his career again after getting out of prison.
It's a cliché to say that America is Comeback Nation, so instead, let's acknowledge the familiar ritual that Tiger Woods has now embarked upon. When celebrities screw up, there's a well-worn path they must travel before they're welcomed back by the famously forgiving American public. ...Tiger has started. He's taken an indefinite leave from golf and is supposedly huddling with his family, out of sight. Before long he'll take the image consultants' advice and issue a public apology, in person.
Talk about prescient. Hopefully Tiger will do us all a favor and embrace brevity in his apology.