"If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain."

Adlai E. Stevenson Jr.

A Library in Your Pocket

January 6, 2010

The Difference between Tiger Woods and Chris Brown

Seems like everyone has an opinion on the Tiger Woods scandal and I am no exception. I first saw Tiger Woods when he was about three years old on The Price is Right. He was on with his father Earl and he out putted Bob Barker. Next time I saw Tiger was when he was featured in a Sports Illustrated article as one of the young athletes to keep an eye on in the years to come. He was a young teenager and had already won a couple of national junior championships at the time.  I immediately remembered him from The Price is Right. Then Tiger turned Pro,  surpassed  all the hype,  made golfing cool and became a living legend.

Tiger Woods doesn't owe me an apology.  He cheated on his wife, not me, not you, not AT&T or Accenture or any other sponsor or fan.  All indications are that the women with whom he consorted were either paid professionals or certainly went into the situation with full disclosure.  While I don't blame them for Tiger's fall from grace neither do I feel an iota of sympathy for their public shaming.

I feel bad for Tiger's wife Elin having this mess explode all over the media, but the way I see it, she also owes Tiger a huge, huge thank you.  Do we need to see the proverbial 'film at 11' to understand that she chased after Tiger with a golf club when he tried to leave their home that fateful night and it was her violent conduct that caused him to lose control of his car and crash.

Rather than truthfully tell the police what Elin had done -- which would have resulted in her arrest, her prosecution and most certainly her conviction -- Tiger kept silent. He wasn't protecting himself. He knew that his reputation was about to be trampled. Tiger was protecting his wife. He was keeping her out of jail.

Compare how Tiger handled the situation with how Chris Brown responded. Both men allegedly had their infidelities revealed when their women get a hold of their cell phones. Chris responded by beating the crap out of Rhianna. She called the police. He was arrested and ultimately plead guilty to assaulting her.

In contrast, Tiger did not attack Elin. Rather all indications suggest that she went after Tiger with a golf club. And even though she most certainly is responsible for his crash which caused him to suffer injuries and even though the police repeatedly pressured Tiger to tell them what happened, Tiger protected Elin by remaining silent.  Elin was able to spend the Holidays skiing in the Alps because Tiger refused to implicate her.

For most of his life Tiger has seemed superhuman. Now we discover he is just a man with superhuman golfing skills. For the first time in his life Tiger faces the prospect of being booed.  As far as this fan is concerned, Tiger manned up by protecting Elin from arrest and prosecution for domestic violence. Whether Tiger's marriage can survive his infidelities is none of my business. I hope that he and Elin can move past this mess into a better relationship, however it may be defined. In the meantime,  I just want Tiger back on the golf course where he truly is superhuman.

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