Thursday, December 3, 2009
Tiger is fair game
Has Tiger Woods personal life been under attack for the last week, ever since the wreck outside his palace home at 2:25 a.m. during the Thanksgiving holidays? Well, certainly.
Has all of this probing by TMZ, the New York Post, US Weekly, and other websites and mainstream media been unfair? Well, certainly not.
It's not all that complicated. Woods, perhaps the most recognized sports figure in the world, earns about $1 billion a year. About 90 percent of that comes from off-the-course endorsements, with Nike, Gatorade and Gillette leading the way.
He's the most public of public figures, and reaps about $900 million annually because not only of his golf talent, but of the wholesome image he portrays. He, with the help of his handlers, has positioned himself as a role model, a family man. If someone as grounded as Woods says buy Nike apparel, drink Gatorade and shave with Gillette, well, we better do it. After all, it's the All-American Tiger Woods telling us to do so.
But Woods has this deal with the devil. With all of these millions and millions from endorsements because of his golfing talent and image comes a loss of privacy. His private and public lives blend.
He's a billionaire. So are all of Sam Walton's kids, many times over. But they aren't public figures, making their money through public endorsements. Their private lives frankly don't hold much releveance to the general public.
USA Today has a very good story on this debate this morning. Woods can't have it both ways. He can't make $900 millon a year in a very public way and then not be held accountable and expect his private life to become public fodder when things go awry.
Said Irish golfer Padraig Harrington to USA Today: "If Tiger Woods was not the No. 1 sports star in the world, this would probably not be a story. But the spotlight on him is massive. It's pretty legitimate for people to be discussing and talking about this."
Sure, a line is still drawn somewhere. What happens between Woods and his super model wife Elin is between those two. But if you're publicly chasing women in Las Vegas, LA and New York, and you're Tiger Woods, yeah, that's a story. A big story.