Even those of you who have been living under a rock have likely heard the saga of Tiger Woods and his affairs. What began with Woods mysteriously crashing his car into a tree a few yards in front of his house ended with a long line of mistresses coming forward claiming to have a relationship with the professional golfer. Within weeks, Woods, who earns an estimated $110 million from endorsements, lost his sponsorship deals with Accenture, Gatorade and most recently AT&T. Woods has lost millions of dollars, his public image and possibly his marriage.
What was he thinking? No one but Tiger can really answer that question. Perhaps Tiger wasn’t thinking about the consequences at all. That is sure to change in the coming weeks and months.
What Tiger Woods did was wrong. It was selfish, and it smacked of arrogance. His actions hurt not only himself but his family and his business partners, and he deserves to suffer the consequences. And while the consequences are many, the ongoing media frenzy and public scrutiny surrounding the Woods scandal is likely to be one of the more difficult things to endure.
Tiger Woods is a public figure who has built a squeaky-clean image as a stand-up guy. When that public image of Tiger Woods contradicts who Tiger Woods is in private, an outcry is understandable. But when the person behind the persona is scrutinized endlessly on late-night talk shows and becomes a staple of gossip entertainment news sites, a certain vindictive quality starts to surface in the national discussion of Woods’ life. Woods’ right to privacy does not include a right to immunity from consequences. But his crumbling life should not serve as our amusement.
We are fascinated by the downfall of Tiger Woods. We were fascinated by the downfall of Britney, the divorce of Jon and Kate, the addictions and heartbreaking lives of countless other celebrities who have had their flaws broadcast across the world. To be fair, some celebrities actually do seek the spotlight with outrageous behavior, but when they do, we should not be so eager to give them our attention. Celebrities are people, too – something we learn with each new scandal. While their athleticism, movies and music provide us with entertainment, their misery should not.
The ongoing media attention surrounding Tiger Woods will not last forever. Soon there will another celebrity or public figure who will be thrust into the spotlight for all to watch as their life falls to pieces. And after that has died down, another scandal will arise because when it comes to public figures whose lives are falling apart, there seems to be an endless supply. And when the next scandal arrives, we will all be glued to our televisions to watch every moment.