I am going to borrow a tactic from my favorite NBA color commentator Hubie Brown and write this post from the second person perspective. You’re Tiger Woods. You crashed your Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and neighbor’s tree at 2:45 AM on Thanksgiving Night. You say your beautiful Swedish model wife heroically saved you by smashing the back windows and pulled your unconscious body out of the car. You are the world’s most recognizable athlete and have a net worth of a billion dollars. You assembled an elite team of agents, managers, pr people, and high price lawyers to create and protect your heavily guarded image. Why wouldn’t you spin the story immediately that your wife is a courageous hero that rescued from disaster while you lost control of the car while in a rush to medicine for a sick child? It would be the feel good story of the holiday season. When you host your tournament this week to benefit your charity, people would have praised your wife endlessly and the media would have written hosannas about how grateful they are for you to survive such a scary ordeal.
Instead, you choose to remain silent on the matter by refusing to talk to the police and release a terse statement on your own website that raises more questions than answers. The silence allows to media circus to run amok with stories of alleged affairs that were trumped up by lascivious tabloid mags, TMZ and National Enquirer. Your supposed mistressm You say you acted stupid when you committed your accident, but you and your team of advisers and handlers acted more foolish when you failed to learn from the mistakes of star athletes gone bad, Plaxico Burress and Michael Vick. The cover-up is worse than the crime.
The whole ordeal probably won’t cost you anything in your wallet as your global icon status makes it hard for sponsors to leave you. But it’s incredible that an athlete who goes to such Herculean lengths to protect your image would let the media circus deliver a Pacquiao-esque beatdown to your public perception. Of course, when you are winning majors and putting on green jackets next year, all will be forgotten. Everyone loves redemption stories and when you win future majors, I imagine it will be written how this accident transformed you. Maybe you become more crowd-friendly, you show off the sense of humor that is frequently said, but rarely seen, and you reveal more public images of being a great father to your beautiful wife and young children. It will hammer home a message that pops up time and time again, most recent with Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees 27th World Championship and Kobe winning his first NBA Championship without Shaq. Winning trumps everything.