Can You Let Tiger Woods Be Great Again?
Today is the big day for Tiger Woods. The first day in the long journey that is the rest of his life, his career and his legacy. After all the mistresses and the press conferences and the interviews, the greatest golfer of all-time (is it still OK to call him that?) is back on the golf course at The Masters ready to reclaim his seat at the top of the sport.
Not so fast. You’re still pissed off at Tiger Woods, aren’t you? You hate that he led us all to believe that he was the perfect gentlemen, the perfect husband and, despite his less-than-stellar behavior on the course the last few years, the perfect athlete. You hate that he’s made it difficult to care about a sport that, frankly, you wouldn’t give a damn about without him. You hate that he’s ruined his reputation and been a terrible role model and…Okay, okay. I understand. Because up until a couple of days ago, I was pissed off at Tiger Woods, too. Here was this guy with multimillion-dollar endorsements, a great career, one of the sweetest golf swings on the planet, a model wife, two kids and he decided to throw it all away? And, for what? A couple of sleazy text messages (well, more than a couple) and a whole bunch of one-night-stands with more than a dozen mistresses that will now be a part of Eldrick “Tiger” Woods’ legacy (and his Wikipedia page!) forever? Eesh!
But then I started thinking: If I’m pissed off at Tiger Woods for what he did, who else should I be mad at right now? NFL quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for getting himself involved in another sexual assault case last month? His teammate Santonio Holmes for allegedly getting into an altercation with a woman at a nightclub recently? Former NFL running back Tiki Barber (from my beloved New York Giants!) for leaving his pregnant (with twins!) wife to romp around with some 23-year-old girl who used to intern at NBC? After all, those guys clearly aren’t very good people, either, right? So let’s add them to the list.
If I’m gonna go that far, why not rescind some of my allegiances from my past, too? See ya later, Michael Jordan. The alleged gambling and extramarital affairs are too much for me. Nice knowing ya, Dwight “Doc” Gooden. You’re the reason I’m still holding out hope for my New York Mets—but that drug habit that you’re still battling means you’re off my list. Goodbye, Lawrence Taylor. Yeah, I used to wear your Giants jersey to school when I was 8, but so what? I’m pissed off at all of you.
And then it dawned on me. This is what Charles Barkley was talking about when he made his infamous “Athletes shouldn’t be role models” pitch. Athletes are no better and no worse than you or me. They lie. They cheat. They steal. They go against everything that we expect from them. So, really, why do we expect anything more than a couple hours of entertainment on the field, court or course?
Listen, what Tiger Woods did was wrong. So if you want to hate him forever and write him off as just another selfish athlete, go ahead. A couple of days ago, I thought I had. But, today is a big day for Tiger Woods. I’m finally ready to see what he will do with it.
So, will you give Tiger Woods the chance to be great again—or not? Do you think he deserves the opportunity to play golf again? Let us know.