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Note to reader: This post has no catchy title and it also has no ability to submit comments. This matter deserves neither a catchy play on words for a title nor the ability for readers to use the comment section of this blog as an avenue to bash another human being however imperfect he may be.
Let me begin by saying that in no way, shape, or form is it acceptable to cheat on a significant other. I am not trying to excuse what Tiger Woods did with any woman who was not his wife. That said, let’s see if I can concisely explain how I felt when Tiger’s press conference was complete yesterday, which as soon as it was over, the only word that came to mind was WOW. I’m throwing out how controlled the entire environment was from the specific people invited to the intentional placement of the people in the front row. I couldn’t care less who was there and who wasn’t because those people were not the one behind the podium. I’m also throwing out any kind of body language analysis. What comes from this is not going to be found in his eye twitches, his body shifts, the tone of his voice, or his hand movements.
The absolute truth in all of this is that Tiger Woods does not in any way owe me an apology. He did nothing to me, never promised me anything. Was I disappointed when I heard what he’d done? Absolutely, but I had no right to be. If I passed Tiger Woods on the street, he wouldn’t know who I was any more than he’d know any other stranger on that same street. What he did is a matter between him, his wife, his family, her family, and their children. I have been through this with some of my friends, and it is incredibly hard to sit back and watch the life they had fall apart. It’s difficult to support them when they choose to go back to the person who cheated and it’s just as difficult to watch them physically and mentally hurt when they have to walk away because going back didn’t work out. But when it comes right down to it, those are the decisions that each person has to make for themselves based on their situation. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s still each person’s decision.
I want to believe that people are basically good and sincere. I know that this is not always the case, but I still want to believe it. It’s also in my nature to forgive. I want to believe that what Tiger said yesterday was honest and from his heart, but the only way to know if it was will be from his behavior beyond this point. The most accurate statement that Tiger made yesterday was:
As Elin pointed out to me, my real apology to her will not come in the form of words; it will come from my behavior over time.
While he doesn’t owe it to any of us but his family to prove that he has changed his behavior, that is the only way we will know that he meant what he said in his statement. Right now what he said is just words. It is now up to him to prove that he meant them. Do I believe him? Honestly, I don’t know, but I am willing to give him the opportunity to prove himself. I’m not willing to write him off just, yet.
I realize what he did is horrible by every stretch of the imagination, but at the end of the day, he is an imperfect human and in every day of my almost 32 years of life, I have NEVER met a perfect human. We are all imperfect. We all make mistakes. Some of us make more mistakes than others, and some of us make a lot of mistakes in a short amount of time. And I don’t really care if he was with one woman or twenty because one is enough to make it wrong. But nothing anyone does can make him or her perfect. I learned a long time ago that judging people was a waste of time. Do I have opinions about what is right and what is wrong? Absolutely. But the ultimate decision on that is not mine and it is not right for me to judge him on his actions.
I understand that it is human nature to not want to forgive him and to judge him and criticize him. But the bottom line as I’ve mentioned already in this post is that this is a private matter between him and his family. Yes, he’s a public figure. Yes, there are a lot of children who looked up to him. And for their sake, I appreciated him addressing them directly because children don’t understand yet that human’s are imperfect. But to be perfectly honest, using any public figure as a role model for your children is playing with fire. Every parent should strive to be the role model for their children rather than using a celebrity to fill that position. At the end of the day, I will always believe that becoming a public figure should not mean that the person has to give up their privacy. The worst part of Tiger’s statement yesterday was hearing him talk about how the media had followed Elin and Sam to school one day to take pictures and ultimately harass them. I am ashamed that I live in a world where harassment is acceptable to get a picture of a child whose father made mistakes.
I know a lot of people went into that press conference not even willing to actually hear what he said. People who wanted to hear what he had to say so they could criticize him even more, rake him over the coals one more time, and attempt to get more support for a public stoning. People who had already decided what they thought about the situation and nothing he said yesterday or does in the future will change their opinion. And those people are completely entitled to their opinion, but for those people who haven’t made up their minds, I hope they actually listened and actually heard the words he said. I hope that in the months and years to come as he attempts to build a new (and hopefully different) life for himself and for his family, that he will live the words he expressed. That he will remember that he is NOT entitled to act any way he wants to. That he will remember that his behavior was selfish and that it hurt the people he loved more than he ever could have imagined. That he will truly see the error of his ways and change for the better. I hope, in short, that he will be the Tiger Woods we all thought he was before Thanksgiving.