Saturday, December 5, 2009

Resuscitating Tiger

Cansecos? No.
Rodruiguez? Don't care.
Bryant? Whatevs.

Short of "IF THE GLOVE DON'T FIT, YOU MUST ACQUIT!", I have never followed an athlete-related scandal. I'm a girl's girl and therefore couldn't care less about the sleazy shenanigans of self-absorbed, overpaid professional athletes.

HOWEVAH, I am finding the Days of Our Lives-esque salaciousness of the Tiger Woods scandal irresistible. What is not to love?

Tiger's PR is what's not to love. Who is responsible for this mess?!

For those of you who need a refresher, below is a timeline to bring you up to speed. Then we'll discuss.

November 25

The National Enquirer reports that Tiger is having an affair with New York event planner Rachel Uchitel. People don't care until...

November 27

Tiger crashes his Escalade near his Orlando, Florida home. It is reported that Tiger's wife Elin used a golf club to smash a window in order to free her husband from the car. (Allegedly, he was unconscious and bleeding from the mouth when police arrived).

November 28

Woods turns police away from his home and asks them to come back the next day. Rumors swirl that Tiger's injuries resulted from a 9 iron wielding Elin who, according to neighbours, "beat his ass".

November 29

Tiger releases a statement asking for privacy and calling the incident "embarrassing for my family" and again refuses to speak with police regarding the accident.

Later, the 911 call made by a neighbour is released. See above.

Rachel Uchitel, who days earlier had been named as Tiger's mistress, denies any affair.

November 30

Tiger withdraws from the Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club, California due to injuries sustained in the accident.

December 1

Woods is charged with careless driving and given a $164 fine.

December 2

Us Weekly reports that Los Angeles cocktail waitress, Jaimee Grubbs, alleges that she and Tiger had a 31-month affair and posts a voicemail on their website allegedly left by Woods on Grubbs' phone days before the car accident in which he warns that his wife may be calling her.

Apparently, Elin did call and left a voice message that said "You know who this is because you're f***ing my husband." OH SNAP.

Clip below:

That's not all. The same day, the media links a THIRD woman, a Las Vegas club marketer to Tiger.

Tiger releases another statement apologising for his "transgressions". He does not specify just how transgressy he has been.

Transcript of the statement below (from his website):

I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart. I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect. I am dealing with my behavior and personal failings behind closed doors with my family. Those feelings should be shared by us alone.

Although I am a well-known person and have made my career as a professional athlete, I have been dismayed to realize the full extent of what tabloid scrutiny really means. For the last week, my family and I have been hounded to expose intimate details of our personal lives. The stories in particular that physical violence played any role in the car accident were utterly false and malicious. Elin has always done more to support our family and shown more grace than anyone could possibly expect.

But no matter how intense curiosity about public figures can be, there is an important and deep principle at stake which is the right to some simple, human measure of privacy. I realize there are some who don't share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.

Whatever regrets I have about letting my family down have been shared with and felt by us alone. I have given this a lot of reflection and thought and I believe that there is a point at which I must stick to that principle even though it's difficult.

I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves. For all of those who have supported me over the years, I offer my profound apology.

December 3

The media reports that Rachel Uchitel has met with and possibly hired celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred. People freak out.

Uchitel announces her intention to hold a press conference in Los Angeles but cancels shortly before the conference is scheduled to take place.

December 4

Claims emerge that Tiger offered Uchitel $1 million to cancel the press conference. Rumors circulate that Uchitel has gone into hiding because she fears for her safety.

Meanwhile TMZ releases an email exchange between one of Tiger's employees and Uchitel, dated November 9, details plans for the two to meet in Australia.

US Weekly magazine hits news stands featuring an interview with mistress number two, Jamie Grubbs, which clearly exposes her as a Grade A Dipstick. Yes, that's an official title.

December 5

A fourth woman comes forward claiming she had a long-term affair with Woods that began in 2004, the year he married his wife. Allegedly, the woman has hired a lawyer and intends to make a statement to the media. Uh Oh.


OH LAWD! Can't you just see Tiger slinking around his mansion, trying to avoid Elin's angry side eye as she menacingly waves a golf club at him while standing over a burning wastepaper basket containing their now void pre-nuptial agreement?

This is not the point, though.

The point is that Tiger Woods has failed to follow the basic rules of crisis communications as outlined by Vincent Covello, a prominent authority on the subject. According to Covello, the cardinal rules are:

  • Accept and involve the public as a legitimate partner
  • Plan carefully and evaluate your efforts
  • Listen to the public's specific concerns
  • Be honest, frank and open
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other credible sources
  • Meet the needs of the media
  • Speak clearly and with compassion

So, where has he failed?

Tiger is in serious violation of rules number 1, 4 and 7. He has not acknowledged that the public has a right to know anything of substance, which makes him come across as insincere. He is taking for granted that his fundamental right to privacy exempts him from having to offer any direct explanation or sincere apology. He has consistently been standoffish and, in my view, condescending, which has resulted in unflattering reports of his behavior (ie: he is rude to service staff, refuses to give his autograph to eager children and is a poor tipper). Keep in mind that nobody ever talked shit about Tiger before a week ago.

The public feels, on some level, that they have been personally deceived. Here is this person who we put up on a pedestal and he turns out to be no better than a deceitful philanderer.

The fact is, Tiger Woods is not just a man who made (humped) a mistake or four. He is a brand. He is the single highest paid athlete in the world. His squeaky clean image made him an ideal spokesperson for, well, anything really. He has accepted the role of public figure because he has reaped the rewards of that status and therefore he cannot just decide that his fans have no place in his life. The sooner he accepts this, the better.

Tiger is not sorry enough. The public is simply not going to accept his continued silence or inaction on this matter.

Your move, Tiger.


Vicki said...

Or maybe the public needs to accept responsibility for putting him on that pedestal, when perhaps he didn't deserve it, and move on. This is a good article from one of my fave pundits: (not sure what the "Christian Science Monitor" thing is about, but she's dope)

Shabs said...

Absolutely. he obviously didn't deserve it. He has a long road ahead of him to regain his credibility, which I am not sure he ever really do.

Cariad said...

I am as interested in the 'Adventures of Tiger's Penis' as I am in the game of golf. Many men have been able to use two hands to grab the stick and point it down a channel while aiming the ball at the hole. It simply seems that Tiger can accomplish this in both his personal and professional life.
No good can ever come of a life wearing shirts that readily reveal man breasts and nipples while spoiling a good walk.
Tiger's money is really our money. He is heartily financially compensated through the sponsorship of mega organizations. Organizations who are actually mega because the ignorant middle classes are busy spending and extending their credit based lives through their on-line purchases of Golf shirts, memberships and equipment to improve their game (on the course and in the bedroom). It seems to me that we own his arse therefore he has no right to privacy. So Tiger, cum clean, man it up, pay up, move on. If you move to France you can continue this lifestyle, if you stay in moral America I would probably publically wash your penis in bleach as an act of contrition.

Meg said...

Tiger tiger tiger.
His main PR related problem is that in his statements he's still trying to cling to that pretty little polished reputation that he once had. He thinks that if he refuses to talk to the media based on "family privacy" issues, people will understand and walk away. What I think he has yet to realize is that his lack of response is actually making it seem as though he's condoning his own behavior.
Prediction: He will go on Oprah and confess to being a sex addict. He and David Duchovney will become besties. In two years time, he and his estranged wife will make up, and he will win championships again - "Against all odds".
Just wait and see. It's coming.

Shabs said...

Oooohhh! I like it. Good one, Meg.

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