Friday, February 19, 2010

What Was the Point?

This post exists because no one has provided the answers. Otherwise, I couldn’t care less about the ‘event’.

Because The Golfer’s statement seems to be more important than a man intentionally flying his plane into an Austin, Texas office building, let the following words provide some much-needed perspective that none of the broadcasting networks or cable news channels that showed it will give you.

Almost five years ago to the day, a slightly similar event took place, but without the posturing boycott from a writer’s association or as many channels breaking from programming to show the statement. You can’t find the video anywhere online today, but the transcript should jog the memory of how an athlete’s transgressions (alleged or proven) can become two days of media fodder despite all the other matters that can use the attention.

To summarize, Barry Bonds said let’s move on, don’t ask me about anyone else and many in the media have lied about their personal affairs.

Though moderated, it was a majestic press conference and none ever since have captured the antagonism and emotion that his provided. While it was also unintentionally funny, it did serve a purpose: Bonds, whose surly demeanor and the PED allegations overshadowed his on-field greatness, needed to defend himself against people who continued to make statements against his name. For that moment, Bonds set out to address people who spent years vilifying or defending him. After all, whether you like him or not, the truth is that he allowed his image to be crafted by the media based on his own fallacies.

He had enough.

Photo credit to The New York Times via Reuters
Today’s statement was a bit different.

Now, a point was made on Twitter by Chi-Chi Anunkor (one of the hosts of "Sports at the Half "on WHCR here in NYC) that too many people are beating the drum of “throwing stones at a glass house”. She’s certainly right in that it’s not the point of this latest media event, but can anyone with a straight and objective point of view tell me what it was?

Probably not.

When The Golfer’s team announced that a statement would be made, the entire sports world just ran with its proverbial cameras, recorders, laptops and cell phones without asking what purpose does this serve. Yes, he falls under the adage of “anything he does is newsworthy”, but that’s phenomenally subjective and whether ‘legitimate’ media peers agree or not, it’s a poor justification to report on something. With so many outlets deciding to have a NFL-like pre- & post-game analysis on the statement, it’s not a shock that no one would dare question the need for blanket coverage.

Yet, again, the fundamental question has to be asked: what was the point?

What purpose did making the statement serve for him beyond the need to control the message?

What was the public supposed to ascertain from this? Ours is a fickle – or at least an opinion-diverse – one. Some don’t give a hoot as long as he hits the course soon. Many love to throw shade on any rich or wealthy public figure, especially those who make a living playing a sport. Many still believe that he let them down because he “wasn’t like the others” as his carefully-controlled image presented. With these varying perspectives, were millions of us supposed to get angrier or to feel empathy?

Can ANYONE explain this?

The cynical ones might say that this was done to get us talking about him again, yet that can’t be it. To borrow the phrase from Chris Jericho, he is best in the world at what he does. That sheer excellence is enough for people to take notice of him, even if it’s as benign as sneezing into a Kleenex. He is the most important figure to a sporting organization since Wayne Gretzky was traded to the Los Angeles Kings (despite the greatness of Michael Jordan, the NBA wasn’t hurt for stars as much as we’re told to believe). To think that he needed to speak this morning in order to make sure we watch him hit the links soon is absurd.

This morning’s statement, no matter how prepared it was or genuine it apparently doesn’t change anything he does on the course when he returns. It’s a great joke for another day or two as it has been since Wednesday when it was announced. However, not one person has been able to answer the fundamental question:

What was the point?

Say What?!?!: Points well taken here by Yahoo!'s Dan Wetzel.

Video Credit to jarroddrover123


mindpinball said...

Great post.

It's hard to say what the point was. Tiger (or more accurately, his handlers) felt that something needed to be said, but they wanted to keep control of the message and how it was disseminated. So we get the "event." His apology should be directed toward his wife, his family and those friends of his he let down. He doesn't owe the rest of us anything. Most importantly, he hopefully takes a lesson from this and really makes a change in his behavior, both on and off the golf course.

Jason Clinkscales said...

And despite my ambivalence towards all of this, I do hope he's learned valuable personal lessons. With that said, what's driving me insane is this point made about endorsements.

"He's got to make his sponsors happy."

"He has to try to salvage his marketability as an athlete."

"He needs to show that he understands his impact beyond the game."


No one is thinking of the truth underneath: most folks never heard of Accenture before this went down, Gatorade Tiger wasn't exactly being ripped off the shelves and not as many people purchase and/or play golf as we're led to believe. So in terms of endorsements, who does this actually impact?