Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tiger: What we (fans) are "owed"

I wanted a blanket apology out of Tiger not because I was entitled but because Tiger is a person and that's what people do.

Before I get into the meat, a quick aside:

Oh Tigre, you and your whorish ways. I've known a man-whore or two in my day but good gravy man, you REALLY lika da women, eh? I'm glad you've found the help you need in your pseudo-therapeutic southern hovel. Back in the olden days (or modern Saudi Arabia) they sent whores to death or fastened giant letters to their lapels. Today we send our high-priced whores to Alabama and prescribe bunkbeds and long chats about our feelings with strangers. Now don't get me wrong, I do believe sex addiction is real (if you don't believe it, check out this account via a Deadspin commenter. That shit is real, and painful.) I just don't believe Tigre is an addict. The guy is in need of therapy and perhaps an intervention but only to get rid of the people in charge of controlling his every move. He's a fucking robot mess. That press conference sounded exactly like the one R2-D2 gave after he got caught jamming his tool probe in C3PO's exhaust valve. Digression...

Anyhoo, the media has taken an interesting tact with respect to Tiger's actions. Many (maybe even most) have asked, "Why is Tiger apologizing to us? He doesn't owe us anything." In fact, if you do a search on Google News for "Tiger 'doesn't owe'" you get about 12000 articles. And many of the "he doesn't owe us" crowd have intimated that we, Joe Fan, feel entitled to the apology and it is us who is not "owed" this apology. Well sirs, to that I say go fuck yourself.

Let's get away from the fact that the best golfer in the world isn't golfing right now and his hiatus is indefinite, so as a pure sports story we as sports fans really want to know what's going on. If Dustin Pedroia wasn't in the lineup for the month of April and then showed up in early May, I think someone would probably expect him to explain what the hell happened. And if the absence was because of his own "bad act" (or say because he slept with a dozen hookers) then we'd probably expect him to be sorry that his actions took him away from the game. But be that as it may, I don't feel I am "owed" anything. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that none of us who expected to hear an apology from Tiger have been standing outside his door with our front foot tapping impatiently waiting for him to come out and bow his head apologetically to atone for his indiscretions. I never felt hurt or betrayed so I don't feel entitled to an apology. But I did expect one and would have thought it absurd had he not.

The reason is not because of my passion for sports but because Tiger Woods is a very public sports figure who had a very public fuck up. A fuck up so great that he had to take a lengthy hiatus from his sport and no one knows when he will return. In these situations the rules of our society for public figures require that you stand up in front of a camera and say that what you did was stupid. That's how it works. I didn't make the rules and I didn't sign a contract with the PGA requiring all philanderers apologize after they get caught. History has shown me how this works so now I expect it. It's not a matter of his responsibility to me as much as it is his responsibility in general. That's it. End of story.

What I find most troubling about the media slant is that many a sports talk person uses this example to suggests that we should merely like the athlete for their accomplishments because most of them are dirtbags, so if we really knew them we would be disappointed. I'm sure they're right. But the idea that most people can simply separate the personality of the player from their accomplishments is pretty naive. For most people, their favorite player is not only good but he contributes to charity and he is scrappy or hustles or has magical leadership intangibles despite clear defensive flaws or he just looks like he's having so much fun out there. You don't love the back of the baseball card you love the whole package. Bert Favor wouldn't be old Bert if he answered questions in monotone staccato and frowned like Eli Manning on the field. Tim Duncan is arguably the greatest Power Forward in history but because he's got the personality of a lima bean no one likes him (WE HEAR even Tim Duncan's mom thinks he's about as exciting as chamomile tea--Pro Football Talk'd!). I'm sorry but with sports stars you can't separate the personality from performance.

What is also amusing to me is that these same sports folk who call out the fan for our inability to separate personality from performance CANNOT themselves separate the person from their accomplishments. Just look at the baseball Hall of Fame vote. Jim Rice waited 15 years to get into the Hall because he acted like a dick for 10 years. Michael Kay tells me that most baseball players are bad guys so we should only respect what they do on the field but he hates Mike Mussina and can't possibly speak about him objectively because of a few bad locker room experiences and he won't say a bad word about A-Rod because A-Rod sent flowers to his mom's funeral. So don't you fucking dare lecture me about separating the person from the sport bucko.

But rather than dwell on media hypocrisy, let's take the next step of the media take and agree that he doesn't need to apologize. So let me get this straight, you knuckleheads would prefer he just show up to the FBR next weekend, sign in and head out for a practice round? Yes, I'm sure no one would say shit about that. There's not enough indignation available on earth to fuel the columns that would be written in that scenario (we'd have to send a space ship to Pandora to mine for "indignation" after they scrape up the last of the unobtanium). Headlines in the papers (they still make those things, right?) would read, "HE OWES US AN EXPLANATION!" And you know who the "us" is in that scenario, THE FUCKING SPORTS MEDIA. Not me. Not you. The person most interested in hearing an apology and explanation is the person responsible for writing the column or creating the buzz on the radio or whatever f'n platform they have.

Now don't get me wrong, if Tigre just flat-out ignored society's requirement that he apologize for all of this then I'd be taken aback as a sports fan. But again, my surprise wouldn't be because I feel entitled to hear from him as much as I'm just surprised that he thinks he can get away from this shitstorm without an explanation. That may be semantics to some but it's a big difference to me.

So please don't tell me I'm not "owed" an apology when I never said I was entitled to one. All I ask is that Tigre play by the same rules as everyone else who's fucked up. Oh, and Tigre, while you're up there, I wouldn't mind hearing about those threeways.

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