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Idol Chatter

The media world was abuzz this week with the news that Tiger Woods is going to hold a press conference (sort of) to answer questions (actually not) regarding the recent revelations about his indescretions (which has dominated the news) and his intentions for his golf future (which sponsors probably care about more).
A survey by Predicto.com revealed that a majority of Americans believe Tiger will cry at the event. I disagree. I think he’ll be repentant, but I believe he’ll also look someone scripted.
And that’s because he will be. The world of public apology has become a new genre in our generation. It requires an understanding of both the arts of communication and relationships as well as the science and psychology of apology, contrition and repentance.


Can you remember some of the public apologies we’ve had to endure in our culture? Mark McGwire lied to congress and everyone else about steroid use, but he came clean this year and has just now been reinstated to Major League baseball. But Mickey Mantle was disowned by baseball when he was associated with gambling, and Pete Rose to this day is banned from baseball from betting on the games. Well-crafted apologies would have helped restore them long ago.
Do you remember religious leaders such as Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and, more recently, Ted Haggard? Bakker looked disheveled and exhausted and only the distorted images of his fall from grace made it into the public eye. He later tried to make a comeback but it didn’t catch on. Swaggart cried famously, but only have he’d been tried in the public courts and found guilty. Haggard has apologized for his poor behavior but not for what some of the media culture wants, so his campaign has brought him press but not necessarily the populus.
Outside of O.J., I think the public is ready to forgive just about any one in our culture for just about anything if the apology is believed to be sincere, and/or if there’s a sense that too much harm wasn’t done, and/or if there’s a sense that it could have happened to any of us.
Given that, I think Tiger has a hard path to cross, and an even harder cross to bear. I believe most women are not ready to embrace him one bit. I believe most men just want golf to be more exciting with him in it. Either way, the shine is off of his personal brand.
Whether he cries or not, the event seems to be so calculated and structured that I’m not sure too many people are going to buy it. But, perhaps deeper than some of these factors, lies the spiritual truth that the Lord forgives those who confess their sins one to another.
And that offers hope for all of us…including Tiger.

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