Dec 8, 2009

Area Codes

Whenever I think of Tiger Woods, I think of that Public Enemy line about Elvis. Tiger was a hero to most...y'all know the rest. Tiger, except for his historic win at the Master's in '97, has never really meant much to me. As a matter of fact, Tiger is one of the most boring public figures in recent memory. Say it loud, I am Tiger Woods, devoid of funk!

Well, at least he was boring. Once the news hit the fan that Tiger, like Luda, has a gang of 'em "in different area codes," it seems that the fun just won't stop. Tiger Woods is what my Dad would call a "hoemonger." This would all be his own business were it not for the fact that he has willingly played the role of the good guy all the way to the bank. Mr. Squeaky Clean has been gettin' his dirty freak on something fierce it seems. Tiger Tiger Woods y'all!

Again, I have no love for Tiger. He dominated his sport, for sure. He has made a mockery of that sport's racially restrictive past, no doubt. But what else has he done other than make boatloads of money endorsing products? Not a damn thing! When will people stop thinking that just because someone excels at a sport and can speak in complete sentences that they are somehow above reproach? I guess Kobe's Eagle, Colorado problems weren't proof enough for ya?

Every since American sports started becoming more and more racially diverse, the issue of image has become more pronounced. Much of the sports media and many of the sport's loving public has clamored for non-threatening figures who comfort their own sense of identity. In perhaps the most extreme case, OJ Simpson, a hustler if ever there was one, sensed this back in the 70s and literally ran with it. OJ was always thug life personified, but like most hustlers, he could shape shift and conform to whatever the situation called for. Naive, simple-minded fools believed OJ's hype and the next thing you know the man who proudly said "I'm not black, I'm OJ" had become Willie Horton, literally.

Michael Jordan once stated that "Republicans buy Nikes too," yet when he gave his HOF acceptance speech earlier this year, the true Michael Jordan showed up and no one wanted to hear what he had to say. The truth was too hard to reconcile. For a long time, Michael played his role to perfection, but now that other younger figures like LBJ and Tiger have come to fill his shoes, he probably felt tired of wearing that costume. Once you put that costume on though, people don't want you to take it off.

Tiger has been wearing this costume for most of his celebrated career. The self-proclaimed "Cablanasian" had the Midas touch for a long time. Now he is paying the price for perpetrating a fraud of immense proportions. Yet I feel that the public played a role in all of this. If people didn't want an unrealistic image from their sports celebrities there would be no need for public figures to cater to such an expectation.

Just because Tiger is a "curly-head" Cablanasian who can hit a golf ball doesn't mean that he's perfect or even decent, for that matter. It just means that he can hit a golf ball. Just because he had the benefit of a good education and has the ability to speak in an articulate manner doesn't mean that he's a saint, it just means that he's had a good education and can speak in an articulate manner.

Let me clear, I could care less how many women Tiger has on the side. That's his business. Well it was his business, now it's the world's business. The problem here is that the media and the public often elevate people beyond where they should be and then when these elevated people demonstrate that they are indeed human, the negative response is unrelenting.

Tiger was never a saint. Most men in his position have more woman than they can fully account for, while many other men who aren't in that position, wish that they were. The spouses and partners of these uber athletes often know about their exploits too, and they implicitly accept this as part of the deal. Yes infidelity is generally what it means to be married to someone so rich and so famous. It's like these other women are an occupational hazard, but a hazard to be tolerated relative to the financial incentives to be had. It's when squares like Tiger behave in such a raggedy, irresponsible fashion, exposing themselves and embarrassing their significant other that drama starts to arise.

Tiger is now in a prison of his own making. If there is a crime here, it is the fact that Tiger would be so square as to leave his name on home girl's voicemail. Square as a pool table and twice as green! It's probably redundant for me to say that ain't pimpin', but it most certainly ain't.

Tiger, if you're gonna do dirt, step your game up Dog. Leave them underachievers alone. Please. Nothing good can come of it. And while you're at it, stop trying to be something that you're not. At least now you've might have a sliver of street cred. Don't spend it all in one place.

And to all those out there who want their heroes to be perfect, stick to the holy books. Because as long as you seek perfection in others, you deny the reality within yourself.