Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tiger Getting a Pass?

Originally, I was going to write what I wrote about Tiger a few days ago and let that be it. I never expected Woods to admit to cheating without actually admitting it, much like Mark McGwire did years ago in front of Congress. I was so surprised that many columnists were basically saying Tiger did the right thing today, mainly because many of those same columnists were willing to demonize Mark McGwire for, in my opinion, a similar situation.

I posed this question on Twitter, wondering why Tiger was basically getting a pass while McGwire is constantly ridiculed for it. A few people suggested the situations were different, because McGwire's decision likely was the main reason he became the player he was. Had McGwire not taken Steroids, he likely never would have been the hitter he was seemed to be the point that some were making. That is a very good point, and certainly when people look back at McGwire's career the first thing that will come to mind will be his steroid use. I fully expect by the time Tiger retires, this affair will not be anywhere close to the first thing people remember about his career.

That said, I like to think of myself as someone who stands for principles. I lean a certain way for politics, like most people, but I try to judge a President or another politician by what I agree with not his party. I feel McGwire denying to give details or even admit steroid use, therefore creating guilt in the public eye, is no different than what Tiger did today. Woods has refused to meet with the media, canceled interviews with police, and has given his fans and peers two weak statements on his website. In today's statement, he admitted to 'making mistakes' and apologized for his 'transgressions' but never came right out and said he had an affair claiming he deserved privacy like any citizen.

Look, I have no problem with Woods not being willing to discuss what he likely considers the greatest mistake of his life. Of course, Woods has become a billionaire because of the general public. While he's a great golfer, his endorsements are the reason he is richer beyond anyone's wildest dreams, so it seems a bit unfair of him to suddenly now ask for privacy, although I likely would be doing the same thing in his shoes.

Since I mentioned earlier that I try to believe in principles, it's worth noting I've never cared that McGwire refused to discuss his steroid use. I feel the same way about Tiger, although infidelity is certainly a worse deed than using steroids in my opinion. Unfortunately, the people that make a career writing for sports don't seem to share the same view on principles, because if they did they either would have understood why McGwire wouldn't discuss it, or they'd be demonizing Woods like they did McGwire all those years ago.

If anything, Tiger has shown us that he is, indeed, in the same discussion as Michael Jordan for the greatest athlete ever. I only say this because Jordan has been, for most of his career and even more so after his career ended, a prick. He does what he wants, when he wants, and there are millions of people across the country that refuse to believe it. The media has played a major part in it, but Jordan's Hall-of-Fame speech was a look into the man that refuses to thank anyone and always feels slighted.

Tiger is a far better person than Michael Jordan, in my opinion, but cheating on your wife shows a major character flaw that should give Tiger some negative publicity. I'll admit, I don't read gossip websites, and chose not to read the Tiger story on any of the regular news outlets like MSNBC or FoxNews, because I've gotten enough of the story from my regular sports websites. Therefore, when I criticize writers for giving Tiger a pass, it is only sports writers. Others may be giving him a pass as well, but the ones that chastized McGwire have no business giving Tiger a pass. That they are is proof that Woods is capable of doing almost anything and maintaining his position as arguably the most famous athlete in the history of sports.