As a publicist and crisis communications coordinator, I have to give Tiger Woods an “A’ for his speech today. Sure, it would have been better had he come out with a public mea culpa a few months ago. And yes, he probably shouldn’t have chastised the media for stalking his kids– that came across as angry and self-serving. But overall, he took ownership of his mistakes, answered most of the questions the public had (or had a right to know), and acknowledged that due to his power and fame, he felt above the rules. Did you ever hear Barry Bonds admit that? Bill Clinton?
Yes, Tiger is a dirty rotten cheater and no longer a role model for his kids or mine, to be sure. But Tiger the husband, father and friend is trying making amends. Deserved or not, owning up to misdeeds in public–which is an important part of any 12-step program– helps a person grows and find inner strength. The difference is, public for the rest of us means a room full of other addicts, not millions of viewers worldwide.
Many bloggers and TV commentators are now calling his press conference “arrogant” and “self-serving” because he controlled the atmosphere. He’s just trying to woo his sponsors and his income stream back, they say. One claimed this is his best act since Torrey Pines on a fractured leg. Perhaps it is. But did you see his mom sitting cross-armed in the front row giving him “the look”? How could he not be contrite with her stink eye focused sternly on him?
And don’t get me started, but if you want to play the self-serving card, how about Gloria Allred inserting herself into this– yet another public situation she used to attract media attention?
I believe that Tiger believes he is sorry. His words today–spoken to his friends and family, whom he has disappointed the most–seemed heartfelt to me, and I do this for a living. Whether his words translate into action, which definitely speaks louder than words, please stand by. When he walks the walk, I’ll be truly convinced.