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The gratuitous shaming of Tiger Woods

June 1, 2017

As far as I know, Tiger Woods is not a murderer, a rapist, a child abuser or a fraudster. He’s a magnificent golfer with a technique admired by anyone who loves the game. He’s also a guy who has fallen on emotional hard times, and whom injury has prevented from playing the game in which he was once without peer.

He was always, it seems, a man with demons. Those demons wrecked his marriage, and may even have cause the injuries that have laid him low.

It was shocking enough to learn that he was arrested after being found sleeping at the wheel of his car with the engine running, and to hear that he was incoherent and unsteady on his feet. His explanation was that his condition was down to unexpected side effects of medication he was taking for his back injury. No alcohol was involved.

Tiger is not a victim in the sense that he is a wealthy man, and has access to the best medical help – both physical and psychological. He is not the only person to have had a difficult childhood, and to have grown up in the glare of public adoration. He is also not the only one to have lived a double life – the image of a settled family man contrasting starkly with the reality of a life in bars and casinos.

But I see no reason why he should be publicly humiliated by the release of a police dashcam video in which he struggles to walk in a straight line, and barely understands the instruction to recite the letters of the alphabet. I can understand why the police routinely use these videos as evidence in a subsequent prosecution. But whose interest is served by the release of the video? Or of any other similar video of someone who isn’t well known for that matter?

I think it’s cruel and despicable. It’s as though in the age of reality TV it’s OK for anybody, whether they are willing or not, to be exposed to the public eye in their darkest moments. It’s not OK as far as I’m concerned, and it gives me one more reason for hoping that a man who has given me and millions of others countless memories of his sporting brilliance will come through his latest crisis and excel once more.

Equally importantly, I hope he manages to find happiness and contentment. He’s not a celebrity. He’s a human being who deserves our respect and compassion.

From → Sport, USA

  1. Well said, Steve!

  2. Thanks Rohini. Too much of this stuff these days. S

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