Saturday, April 3, 2010

More Tiger Woods detractors come forward

When I started writing this post about Tiger Woods' kindergarten teacher coming forward this week to accuse him of lying, my first reaction reaction was: enough is enough.

I didn't want anyone to think I was defending him or his infidelities. I just wanted people to know that I'm so tired of everyone Tiger bashing.

People who regularly read my blog know how I feel about Woods. Yes, he's a bad husband, and he made multiple mistakes by having numerous affairs over the years. But that's none of my business, and my opinion of him never changed because I never looked to him as a role model for family values.

After his Thanksgiving week revelations of the series of lies he obviously was telling, I shied away from any of the sensational stories about the women, where he did it or who allegedly knew about it. I really don't care.

Then I read about Maureen Decker stepping into media spotlight to say that an incident he's been telling for years never happened. In a couple of books and several interviews, Woods said that on his first day of kindergarten, he was attacked by 6th-graders, who tied him to a tree, spraypainted the N-word on him and threw rocks at him.

He also said the teacher didn't do much about it.

I don't think the teacher was ever named in the books or interviews, but Decker is assuming that he was talking about her. And she says he needs to come clean, apologize to her and retract the story.

So, my first reaction was: give it a rest. He hasn't told that story in years that I'm aware of; the last book in which it was published came out in 2005; and it's the media that is retelling the story because of his notoriety and upcoming Masters appearance.

But then I started thinking: what if the story isn't true? How would I feel if one of my heroes fell from grace and I discovered that he told a pack of lies?

I've always looked up to Dean Smith, arguably the greatest basketball coach of all time. Reading his books, watching him coach the Tar Heels and meeting him a few times, I've tried to take some lessons from philosophies and teachings.

He was the first to implement pointing to a teammate who passed the ball that led to a basket, in essence thanking the passer. The lesson is that you always recognize others who help you attain goals.

Smith also implemented the free throw huddle to talk strategy after the shot. The lesson is that we should make sure everyone around us is on the same page, so we can move forward to attain goals. Never assume that everyone else knows what's expected of them.

I would have a hard time if Coach Smith's reputation was tarnished. But Woods is no Coach Smith.

I understand that sports figure become role models whether they want to or not. But Woods has never been a role model for me - except when he's playing golf. I respect the way he hits the ball, and I'd love to be able to do what he does on the course. But that's where the love affair ends.

And now after Woods' integrity about topics that have occurred off the course have come under scrutiny, I realize that people have the legitimate right to question his oft-told tale about the kindergarten attack.

But now after thinking about the whole situation, I guess I go back to my original thought. Who cares?

If the story isn't true, then Woods should say so in public and apologize to Decker. Obviously, she feels slandered, and rightfully so if the incident never happened.

But if it turns out that he lied about the attack, my opinion still won't change. We already know he's a liar and a cheater. But as far as I know, he still can hit a golf ball better than anyone else. And that's the lesson I want to take away from Woods' exploits, not how many or who or where he bagged women.

If people want to focus on that stuff, that's up to them. As for me, I'll still look at what he's doing inside the ropes, not inside the sheets.

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