ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tiger Woods came clean.
Why do we all feel the need to take a shower?
With evidence of serial philandering mounting at a seemingly hourly pace over the past week, Woods on Wednesday fell on his sword, pardon the pun.
|What Tiger Woods does on the golf course and how he conducts his life are two different things. (AP)|
On his website, Woods explained that he's just a mortal man, full of faults like the rest of us. And while much of his pre-packaged apology was decried by those who felt an incredible sense of betrayal, he did land on one indisputable truth.
Indeed, everybody makes mistakes and this is Exhibit A -- because in a way, the scorched impact crater the news has created on the sports planet has proved that we're all partly culpable for this mess.
That's right, people are dismayed, depressed and disappointed because we're idiots, nearly all of us. The line forms here. Care to queue up behind me?
After completing the most astounding decade of any golfer in history, Woods has watched much of it disintegrate in tabloid headlines, and from the back of an ambulance, in a matter of days. Woods must endure the scorn, scandal and damage to his reputation, and some will never forgive him. Perhaps most unsettling of all is that he allegedly had romantic dalliances with a cocktail waitress while his wife was pregnant with their first child, a baby that took them months to conceive.
Earlier today, I was driving around Orlando, looking for a copy of Us Magazine. Last week I forked over $2.50 for the National Enquirer. I found myself thinking, "My career has reached a new low."
Yeah, until the next guy.
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Thus, I am writing an obit today and we should memorize the details. On Dec. 2, 2009, hero worship was officially pronounced dead in this particular corner of the sports world.
For a half-century, war heroes, politicians and sports figures have let us down. Never again should we place our trust in another man's image. Woods was a manufactured persona who played by the rules on the golf course and admittedly cheated off it.
"Transgressions," he said, vaguely.
There's nothing obtuse about the fallout. We have learned by now to invest admiration in public figures with a grain of salt. With Woods, we just ate the whole salt lick.
Say it with me: Never, ever again.
We're a bunch of milk cows, slow-learning lemmings, who should know better by now. My dad's hero was Mickey Mantle. A generation before, kids idolized Joe DiMaggio. Go read their bios to see how that investment of trust worked out. Too many actors, preachers, politicians and musicians to mention have let us down, scoundrels of a different weave.
Woods had so much hubris, he believed he could see a socialite in New York and a waitress in Los Angeles and that nobody would ever know. Meanwhile, we were dumb enough to believe he could possibly live up to his persona.
Prepare to be floored by the following, a posting Wednesday from Woods' own website, added minutes after he issued his apology.
I must say that you let me down, Tiger. I'm 41 and a father of five (four daughters). I've always watched you in tournaments with great admiration and respect. It will be tough for me to have the same level of feelings I've had for you in the past. I'm obviously a conservative and Christian and your infidelity against your beautiful wife and family is something that really unsettles me. Where much is given, much is required. I've made mistakes that I regret, we're all human and God forgives. I forgive you but you are not the man you used to be in my eyes.
Along the way, I unwittingly propagated this guy's image. For instance, a couple of years ago, I asked Woods if he planned to hire a nanny and he said he hoped to postpone it as long as possible, because he didn't want his kids raised by a stranger. I printed his response, making him look like a father-of-the-year candidate. Turns out daddy was a stranger of sorts, too.
I feel a slight sense of betrayal for feeding the myth. Sure, he cultivated his sacrosanct image, which was spun by TV commercials and various spokespeople, who were quite expert at building a moat around the guy, lest we get too close. He willingly accepted and courted the position as, rimshot please, role model. At least Charles Barkley, clown that he is, was honest. Tell your kids to look up to somebody else, he said. Turns out his pal Tiger should have been giving us the same spiel.
Woods packaged it, sold it and we bought it -- making him the first billionaire athlete in history.
With that, it must become ever more clear that frailty knows no income level. In fact, it just increases the possibility of temptation.
As for naivety, gullibility or stupidity -- those don't cost a dime and some of us grabbed up helpings with both hands. There's only one thing worse than admitting to the three aforementioned shortcomings, and that's becoming a repeat offender.
Here's an idea going forward. We should stop looking at others for patterns or direction on how to live our lives. Start looking inward. Be a better husband, father or son. Work from within.
Gandhi is dead, and building deities is a dangerous business. Lesson learned, message received, and so forth. Well, at least until Saturday.
That Tebow kid sure is something, huh?