December 1, 2009

Tiger Woods Can Drive A Ball 300 Yards, But Can't Drive a Car 100 Yards - Ha Ha

The vultures of the media are circling. Tiger Woods has just cancelled out on his own event, claiming that he needs to rehab his injuries caused by his accident. By all accounts, he took the brunt of the damage to his grill, with cuts to his lips. But he's claiming soreness, pain that won't allow him to hit little white balls and walk a golf course for four or five days. Maybe he is really dinged up, but only his close personal entourage can say for sure. And that appears to be a major problem.

There are two main issues here. Firstly, the haters are coming out of the woodwork regarding Tiger's decision to circle the wagons and not talk to local Orlando area law enforcement. Second, the wall of secrecy is in full East Berlin mode.

Regarding point one, Woods really doesn't have an obligation or duty to talk to any police officer unless he is being charged with a crime. That's basic constitutional law. Suspicion of domestic abuse does not equal evidence of domestic abuse if one or both of the parties do not press charges for assault, and probable cause apparently doesn't exist here for law enforcement agencies to act independently of a formal complaint. That clearly is not going to happen here, I would expect. Neither Mr. or Mrs. Woods wants to open this can of worms anymore than it's already open. So, Johnny Law can ask routine questions, but that doesn't mean Tiger needs to do anything to comply unless a judge requires him to. Due process is a cruel demanding mistress in that way (pardon the pun), at least the way I read it.

But, this WILL NOT fade away, like it might for other typical family disturbances with questionable events and outcomes, where both parties want to move on privately, even if the underlying issues (adultery, perhaps) still remain unresolved. Because one of the most recognizable faces on the entire planet is involved, this is SERIOUS BUSINESS. And the collective public, represented by the likes of the news-cycle-filling press, thinks it has a right to know all the details. Now legally, the interested public probably don't have that right. But we're not operating in that realm anymore.

This story is now in the shadowy milieu of public relations. SOME story is going to have to come out. SOME story is being massaged, run up the flag pole, saluted, brought down, handed over to legal for language and nuance, and proffered to Woods to humbly dish out like red meat in the bear pen at the zoo. Otherwise, the cacophony of noise is going to get louder and more strident. Tiger is facing a scary undercurrent which he may or may not be aware of. Billionaires in gated communities keeping secrets about negative behavior? Too soon, Tiger. Your carefully crafted, manicured public image is never going to win against class warfare. Sorry, bro. People will cheer obscenely rich guys indiscriminately when they feel like they can relate. But when that guy uses his tremendous wealth to crawl into his personal castle, hug his sled Rosebud, and issue statements from on-high like an ill Soviet leader, the natives are going to get restless (metaphor triple-word score!). And by natives, I mean newspaper sports columnists, sports talk radio, the WWL (that's Worldwide Leader of Sports - ESPN, to the uninitiated), CNN, TMZ, and every other guy or gal with air or space to fill. Blood's in the water, and noone's safe, until the feeding frenzy gets satiated.

So, Tiger, you either feed them now, and feed them something satisfying and meaningful (i.e., private and embarrassing), or you become a gift that keeps on giving until the Mayan calendar runs out. Stonewalling is not an option, even though you're most likely legally free and clear to do so. You think people messed you up on your backswing previously....

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