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Flash: Tiger Woods Isn’t Perfect

Thursday, December 3, 2009, 01:31 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

This is why it’s never a good idea to hold up sports stars as idols and heroes. Not only do they make the same mistakes other people do, but sometimes their celebrity status makes it easier for them to make and justify those mistakes.

Golf star Tiger Woods’ admission of “transgressions” (read: an extra-marital affair) shows that immense talent and good public relations don’t guarantee moral behavior. I admit buying into Woods’ golden boy image when he burst on the pro golf scene in 1996 but have learned over the years that a public persona is just that: a facade designed to show the public what the famous person wants them to see.

I am not going to condone Woods’ moral failings, but neither is it my place to judge him. As hard as I try to be a good person, I am certainly not a paragon of virtue. But I have learned that the best way to stay out of trouble is to avoid the opportunities for trouble. We Roman Catholics used to refer to those opportunities as “occasions of sin.” Avoiding the occasions of sin can be difficult for someone who is on the road constantly and subject to the irrational adulation of fans, especially groupies whose goal it is to have affairs with wealthy and attractive celebrities. No one can control his or her emotions, but behavior can be controlled and ultimately that’s what each person is responsible for. Perhaps Woods’ problem is that, like many celebrities, he came to think he was entitled to enjoy the benefits of his fame without having to face the challenges.

Here in the real world where everyday non-famous people live, we face temptations and moral dilemmas, too. We make mistakes, some of us more than others. We live and learn. I certainly appreciate the dangers of “occasions of sin” much more now than I did ten or twenty years ago. As a result, I am better equipped to avoid the kind of transgression that has befallen Tiger. That doesn’t mean it’s easy to do the right thing. Sometimes it’s brutally difficult. But there is value in the effort. By not crossing the line, I have kept my conscience clear.

Reports say Woods and his wife are in counseling. Perhaps there were problems in their marriage before the affair, and it wouldn’t have survived even if he hadn’t cheated. Perhaps he used that as a justification for his infidelity, what I call putting the cart (the girlfriend) before the horse (the divorce). But it is never too late to get back on the right path and deal with issues in a healthy and moral way. Tiger Woods has an opportunity to do just that. If he does, he will become a better person, however the story ends. If not, he’ll be just another famous serial adulterer. The choice is his. I wish him luck in choosing well.

Categories: life
  1. Thursday, December 3, 2009, 20:21 EDT at 20:21

    Why is this scrutiny by you and by the entire media anything but tale bearing and gossip? We know nothing real even from the word "transgressions" which apology did not include a phrase referring to betraying his wife but rather betraying his values. A lawyer probably wrote this knowing that the word "transgressions" can cover anything from the little to the great. We know nothing real. If there is something real, it will come out without the need for our whole culture to disgrace itself with tale bearing based on bimbos and lawyers.

  2. Monday, December 7, 2009, 01:06 EDT at 01:06

    It isn't gossip because it's based on what he and his girlfriend(s) have said. Why it's news is because Tiger Woods is a public figure by his own choice. Whether or not you like either of those facts is immaterial.

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