TIGER WOODS / TRAIN WRECK
The Man / The Transgressions / The Media Coverage
It is hard not to look at a train wreck happening in front of you. Tank cars and box cars jumping the track ... piling up in an ear piercing screech of metal followed by explosions, fire and smoke. You just can't take your eyes off a train wreck.
That's pretty much how we are mesmerized by the Tiger Woods story.
One moment he was racing down the track of life; it was a fast track filled with amazing talent, bank vaults of money, a beautiful wife and children; then the next moment, Tiger is derailing, jumping off the tracks into the abyss were you find the shattered remains of other men and their careers, their fortunes and their public image.
It seems the mythical Sirens that lured sailors to their death still sing their songs; they pull a President, countless other elected leaders, numerous religious leaders, high profile athletes, movie stars, newscasters, talk show hosts and yes ... even the most common of us ... to a modern day tragedy.
"Experts" are suddenly telling us "why" this happens. One says, it is because high profile, successful men are just greedy; they want more and more. Another "expert" says such men believe they are better than the rest of us and can do what they want. Another says, it is pure lust.
Evangelist Billy Graham always recognized what happened when King David lusted after Bathsheba and later killer her husband, fearing he would be exposed. Reverend Graham had a rule ... he would never be alone in a room with a woman unless the door was open.
Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods was born in 1975 and will have a birthday the 30th of this month.
He is easily the most recognized sports celebrity in the world. He has won 14 professional major golf championships and 71 PGA Tour events. He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, and the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour.
He is the highest paid professional athlete and last year earned an estimated $110 million from winnings and endorsements.
All of this says: Star Power.
His public image has been of a fierce competitor with compassion for various charities. He had no public failings ... never taking part in the "wild and crazy" celebrity scandals.
Until ... the train derailed.
Today, Tiger Woods issued a public statement ... confessing to "transgressions".
He had tried to keep everything under wraps, but the National Enquirer reported allegations of an extramarital affair; then, there was the "car wreck" outside his home which suggested a domestic dispute; then US Weekly ran a cover story about another sexual affair. There's an audio tape supposedly of Tiger asking her to help cover up the affair.
In his statement, Tiger stated: I am not without faults, and I am far short of perfect."
That statement fits any man, and clearly, we no longer live in the Victorian Era, but this is ... Tiger Woods.
That polished, manipulated, closely managed image is gone.
No public apology nor private assurances will change this part of history.
The train is off the track.
The Media Coverage
Still, who cares? Isn't this a private affair?
This is clearly not as big of a story as our war in Afghanistan and Iraq or health care reform or unemployment; Tiger's story is not "the" lead ... but it is the story that is sparking talk, more rumors and jokes.
And ... will there be more women coming forward with similiar stories?
Speaking of the women --- they knew that Tiger was married, but they wanted to be part of his life. Now, one or more will try to make money off those affairs.
Tiger's public statement shows his anger and frustation that the media would continue to target him: "No matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy."
This is the man who got paid tens of millions of dollars because the public idolized him, wanted to be like him and that was all fine ... when the image was untarnished.
Now, Tiger believes that even superstar celebrities should be allowed to have private lives.
Someone should have told him long ago ... that's not the way it is.
He should have seen it for himself from the headlines about sports figures Michael Vick, Michael Phelps, Kobe Bryant, entertainer Chris Brown, numerous other celebrities and more recently, David Letterman.
Letterman went full frontal with his story and apology --- giving basic details to a live tv audience that at first thought they were listening to some kind of bizarre comedy monologue.
Maybe Tiger is hoping his effort at a confession today will defuse any additional stories, but it won't.
Even though much of the public will say it has no interest in Tiger's personal life, it does.
I know that I would prefer that this part of Tiger's life is not part of future newscasts, but I know better.
I'm reminded about another star caught in the middle of a scandal years ago. Daily we had updates on the star and the latest developments, but then the day came when we had no story on the air. There was absolutely nothing to report that day.
I took a call from a viewer who demanded to know why we didn't have a story that day. I told the viewer, Nothing happened; there's nothing to report.
Her response? "Well, you should tell us there's nothing to report."
Tiger is sadly mistaken if he thinks this will all die, and of course, if more cases or tapes surface .... well, like I said, it's hard to take your eyes off a train wreck.