Tiger Woods has been in the news a lot lately b/c of his car crash (it was obvious from the get go that there was a bigger story behind that) and his recent confession of transgression (though he was vague, it seems clear that he's referring to marital unfaithfulness). This post is not about bashing Tiger Woods, but about the response of his fellow-golfers, the media, and the companies that have invested in him.
Tiger wants to keep things private and pretty much everyone is willing to oblige (except that they insisting on publicly saying, over and over, that it is private). Most are speaking as if a hurricane knocked over Tiger's house ("He's strong an he'll get through this). Almost all the companies that invested in him as a spokesman are willing to keep him as the face of their company.
Everyone except fellow-golfer Jesper Parnevik. He has more at stake here since he partially played the role of match-maker:
"I would be especially sad about it since I'm kind of -- I really feel sorry for Elin -- since me and my wife were at fault for hooking her up with him. We probably thought he was a better guy than he is. I would probably need to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time instead of the 3-iron."
"It's a private thing of course, but when you are the guy he is, the world's best athlete, you should think more before you do stuff ... And maybe not just do it, like Nike says."
I think Parnevik's statements take the issue as seriously as it should be taken. Woods is a public figure. He chose a public life, not just in that he chose to be a PGA golfer but also because he signed multiple contracts to be the face of big companies. As Tiger once said:
“I think it's an honor to be a role model to one person or maybe more than that. If you are given a chance to be a role model, I think you should always take it because you can influence a person's life in a positive light, and that's what I want to do. That's what it's all about.”
Tiger considered himself a role model. I think the companies are wrong to keep him on as their spokesman. But I also think, in light of their reluctance, Tiger should volunteer. He saw himself as a role model and he's obviously not a good one. He's been a liar and a cheater.