Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Sorry State of Tiger's Apology*

Far be it from me to jump on a celebrity-bashing bandwagon, but...
there was just something not quite right about Tiger Woods' apology.

I'm not talking about the staged feel of it, nor the micro-management; not the absence of both his wife and his wedding ring; not the refusal to take questions nor the question of how sincere he really was; not even the issue of whether a public apology was even called for, as Tiger's transgressions were a private family matter after all - at least, as far as we know.

All of the above has been sufficiently chewed-over.

What bothers me is the following passage:

I knew my actions were wrong. But I convinced myself that normal rules didn't apply. I never thought about who I was hurting. Instead, I thought only about myself. I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by. I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to. I felt that I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me. I felt I was entitled. Thanks to money and fame, I didn't have far -- didn't have to go far to find them.

As a woman, that translates into "my wife wasn't enough for me."

Now I can hear all you men screaming out there that I'm wrong,  it has nothing to do with how much (or whether) you love your wife, it's about conquest and power blah blah blah.

I don't care.

The phrase "I had worked hard my entire life and deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me" would be appropriate in reference to cheesecake or expensive gadgets and trips.

Not women.

I do realize that many men would, without hesitation, jump at the chance to have sex with beautiful women whenever and wherever they want. I get that. What bothers me is the implication in this statement that sex outside of marriage is unilaterally a good thing.

There may be many good things about it but there are also consequences, no matter how much fame and money you have, and even if you are never caught. Consequences not only to your family and the other women but to your own emotional state.

For one, you destroy the emotional intimacy that marriage is meant to create. For another, you live in fear that you will be discovered, and all your hard-earned wealth and fame will be endangered - just as it was for Tiger.

There are more but I won't belabour.

"I ran straight through the boundaries that a married couple should live by" not only implies, but says outright, that Tiger Woods felt impeded by his marriage vows.

And just in case the audience might have missed it the first time, Tiger repeated,

I don't get to play by different rules. The same boundaries that apply to everyone apply to me.

Tiger sees his marriage as a box, a prison sentence, a place full of rules and boundaries. Where is the love, the support, the friendship, the nurturing that goes on in a home with small children? Where is the appreciation of having a friend and partner, someone you know so well and love so much, with you in mind and body, every single day?

Tiger used the words "integrity", "character" and "decency" as virtues he will aspire to. He makes it sound as if he will have to use all the discipline that he applies to his athletic training in order to live within the "boundaries" of his marriage.

I have a lot of work to do. And I intend to dedicate myself to doing it.

He just doesn't get it.

As a woman, this would not be what I'd want to hear in the course of an apology. This would not be what I'd want to hear, ever.

*Please forgive the pun. Couldn't help myself.


Alan said...

I didn't watch the apology, since I have little stomach either for media circuses or for meddling in others'private business. But viewed in the context of what I know about Tiger's life to date, if he is even half sincere in the quoted passage then he has made a big step. Celebrity at a young age keeps people from growing up, and he has that to go through before he can really get understand what matters. As it is he is getting his wake up call earlier than I did.

It's not to be taken lightly that recovery is often considered a twelve step process. It's cruel to cast a spotlight on one who is taking the first tottering step along that path. Tiger deserves credit for standing up and accepting responsibility, however conditionally at this stage.

I just watched Wayne Dyer's new movie The Shift and will be reviewing the companion book shortly. The tagline for both the book and the movie is "from ambition to meaning." Dyer's point is that we all get caught up in ego starting from the day we are born, and that our society forces us to be ego-absorbed. It takes decades and life-altering experiences to make the shift from seeking satisfaction in egocentric ambition to finding meaning in service and oneness.

Let's see how Tiger is doing 10 years from mow. But let us not do ourselves the disservice of succumbing to the ego's need to judge others unfavorably, even if he fails.

Alvin23 said...

Very well put. A simple, non scripted I'm back would have been good enough. As you said, it is between Tiger and his wife.

However, the I'm Sorry, I'm a Buddhist and I will become a better person is all Money driven.