Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post weighs in on Tiger Woods' apology
Tiger Woods said all the right things about his transgressions, about the feelings of entitlement that allowed him to stray, about wanting to make amends. But it has to be pointed out that whatever impact therapy is having on his sexual issues, it hasn’t made him any less of a control freak.
Yes, Tiger’s words sounded heartfelt. But the setting – a room full of family and friends – was so artificial that it was hard to know how to react. Were we eavesdropping on his confession to those closest to him? Or was he talking to us?
This sort of thing has never really been Tiger’s strong point. Early in his career, he perfected the art of the non-interview interview – talking without actually saying anything. He was always sparing with information, even when it pertained directly to his performance on the course. Remember that he didn’t tell anyone he was playing the 2008 U.S. Open with a torn ligament and a broken leg until he had already won the tournament.
About his private life, he was as silent as the Sphinx. That’s his right. I don’t have a problem with an athlete who says, in effect, “I play my game, I go home, and leave me the hell alone.” But Tiger did make tens of millions of dollars in endorsement income because of his image, which was based mostly on his supernatural talent, skill and power of will – and also, in part, on the portrait he showed the world of a perfect little nuclear family.
Perhaps the most surprising passage of Tiger’s 14-minute mea culpa was the description of his Buddhist faith. Perhaps the least surprising thing was that he did not break down in tears. A lot of people, I think, would have liked to witness showy, weepy contrition. But that’s not who he is, and I respect him for remaining true to himself.
It was a full apology, to say the least, with a terrific ending: “I ask you to find room in your hearts to one day believe in me again.” I think most people will, but not until he gets back out on the golf course – and never in quite the same way as before.
He placed all the blame on himself, telling the media specifically to leave his wife, children and mother alone. If you want to look, he was saying, look only at me.
But then he disappeared.