Monday, December 07, 2009

Tiger Woods legacy won't be too badly burned

With more and more women coming out of the rough to claim they let Tiger Woods put it in the cup, many are speculating what type of hit his overall image will take. The first $1 billion athlete now has somewhere around nine women saying they hooked up with them. And while Tiger's once golden-boy image might get shaken up for now, this will be something that most people will forgive and forget about in a year or two.

Consider a couple other high-profile athletes who had their image take major hits:

Michael Vick
Just yesterday Michael Vick returned to Atlanta with his new team the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Falcons fans booed their one-time franchise quarterback, but outside of a hurt fan base that really was probably more upset that the starting quarterback and running back were out, no one mentioned WHY the fans were booing Vick. No one said during the broadcast or on SportsCenter or any other highlight show, "...Vick is back in Atlanta facing his former team after spending nearly two years in jail for bankrolling a violent dogfighting organization." Instead, the story was more about how Vick finally had a breakthrough game this season -- running for a touchdown and passing for another -- and may be on his way back to becoming an important part of an NFL team.

People may not have entirely forgiven Vick, and the boos show they haven't entirely forgotten, but more important than either of those factors is the fact that sports fans in general don't care anymore than Vick spent two years in jail. Now it's apparently time to celebrate his success.

Kobe Bryant
Last summer the Lakers superstar won a fourth championship in his sixth appearance in the NBA Finals. He hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy with the #24 on his back, a number he changed to from his old #8 to forget about the past and start anew. It was a past that included Shaquille O'Neal playing the role of co-star to three previous titles. It also helped distance the future hall of famer from a past that included allegations of rape. While the rape charges were ultimately unfounded, Bryant never hid from the fact that he cheated on his wife. That didn't seem to bother too many basketball fans as Kobe's new #24 jersey has consistently been one of the NBA's best sellers, just as good as that old #8 without all the baggage. Sure, at the time, Kobe's image took a hit. He lost endorsements, but that appeared to be more because of the criminal charges rather than the infidelity.

Ray Lewis
Do you remember Ray Lewis as a player who was arrested on allegations of murder at a Super Bowl, or the man who won a Super Bowl MVP while leading a punishing Ravens defense to a championship? Any athlete who gets the opportunity to make a comeback on his career with a renewed chance to prove himself on the field and performs will erase most of the memory of any ugly past transgressions.

So how long will the lingering effects of this entire ordeal follow Tiger Woods around? The rest of his career? Doubtful. Sure, this story will always be an asterisk, an afterthought, on his career, but it will never be the biggest aspect of his overall story. Tiger Woods will be remembered as the most decorated golfer and perhaps the most decorated athlete of all time. Oh sure, there was that whole affair thing back in late 2009 when it surfaced that he had a that whole affair thing, but remember how good Tiger was throughout his career. That's how he'll be remembered.

And as far as these women who are heartbroken over Tiger only wanting them for sex, don't expect anyone to show up to your pity party. None of these women are coming out and saying things like Tiger told them he planned on running away with them. None of them claim he said he would leave his wife for them. Heck, none of them even deny they knew he was married. So if the man is cheating on his wife, why would you deserve any better as the woman who knowingly helped his cheat on his family. Please don't pretend to be the victim in all this. You're not. These women wanted nothing more than Tiger did, to hook up. Now they will get hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars for little more than having boobs and luring a Tiger into the trap.

History will look back favorably on Tiger Woods -- right or wrong as it may be. This will follow him for a little while, but in the big picture, how bad of a hit will his image truly take? Just look at other athletes who have faced public scrutiny. And while few if any other athletes have ever had the stature of Tiger Woods and as high a pedestal to fall from, when people remember Tiger Woods, he will still be standing atop that pedestal as the greatest golfer ever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree. This too shall pass. It may be hard to believe right now, but your examples prove the point. Robert

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