What can you say about the guy who’s arguably the most famous sports figure in the world when he cheats on his wife? I heard Tiger’s speech today on Colin Cowherd’s radio show. To be honest, I wasn’t really shocked by anything he said. I will give him mad props for one thing though: He learned from Bill Clinton and others like him. Rather than try to blame anyone else, or hedge his bets to try to make himself look good, he owned his actions.
The media storm and public commentary on the speech are predictable. I saw a poll on ESPN a little while ago indicating that about 67% of respondents think Tiger was sincere. Compare that with the number of people — including Democrats — who saw right through Bill Clinton’s bullshit. It’s one of the curious things about human nature. When someone admits fault, we tend to think they’re being honest. After all, it makes sense, right? Why would someone own up to something he didn’t really do?
In Tiger’s case, he’s going to benefit immensely from his admission of fault. We forgive those who admit fault. Barry Bonds? Asshole. Roger Clemens? Asshole. But Jason Giambi? Well… he’s ok, right? He owned up to using steroids, took a little time off, and nobody’s bothered him since.
So there are definitely advantages to owning up to mistakes. I think Tiger has done a good job with this speech — at least where his career is concerned. Now that he’s admitted to being fallible, he’s going to garner a lot more sympathy and goodwill than if he’d tried to fight this and make himself look good.
But here’s where I’m going to go off the beaten path a little bit. From an evolutionary perspective, Tiger may have been making things even harder on himself with women. Granted, it’s never going to be easy to remain monogamous when you’re as rich and famous as he is. But the speech today demonstrated two extremely attractive traits — responsibility and humility. Tiger already meets an awful lot of the criteria that women look for across all cultures. But there are also a lot of negatives associated with the degree of wealth, power, and fame he has. Men with that much power tend to get drunk with it. They think of everyone around them as disposable. They start to believe their own hype.
Tiger has demonstrated that even at the height of his career, when it would be easy for him to just pay off his wife, jump back on the course, and continue as the greatest golfer in the world, he’s willing to take several steps backwards, devote his time and attention to his wife and children, and try to become a more ethical human being.
Elin better watch out.
If Tiger’s ever in the market for a wife again, he’s going to have on his record that he’s humble enough to take his lumps and work to better himself. Yeah, a lot of women are going to be mad at him for cheating, and he’ll still catch some flack. But honestly, how could you refuse those doe eyes when they’re attached to a rich, powerful, athletic man who also happens to be humble, and who takes care of his own house before his professional aspirations?
Good going, Tiger. And good luck with that fidelity thing.