Idol Chatter

“What we have here is the first superstar athlete chased down by a digital posse,” says Rick Reilly of ESPN Magazine.
“Rightly or wrongly, the tabloids and the gossip sites got their man in breathtaking speed,” he continues. “To bring down someone as powerful and private as Tiger Woods is like seeing a lion crammed into a bird cage.”
Such is the case in the story of Tiger Woods, the billionaire who’s managed to stay more private than Howard Hughes while hiding in plain sight on golf courses in the summer. And not only has he lost his privacy, but he’s lost the perfect-ness of his personal brand. Everyone knows everyone is human, but now even Tiger has become one of the rest of us, and the tabloids are eating it up.
But amidst the stories of marital transgressions, girls in every port (or fairway?), paying off girlfriends and even paying off his wife, Mr. Reilly’s story is of a redemptive nature, and we need more of that.
“None of this makes him a bad person,” Reilly concludes. “It only makes him a flawed person, and, now that he’s been pilloried publicly, a softer person. This will cost him millions of dollars and lots of sleepless nights, but in the end, I think he’ll be a better man for it.”

I love the redemptive nature of Reilly’s comments. In an era where the story of how the story became a story all too often becomes the story, Reilly has refocused us on what really matters: how another human being handles adversity and imperfection. We all face it. We all live in it. Even Tiger. And he will now have a great chance to move beyond being a celebrity to that place that many people–especially young people–need guidance. It’s what we do when we fail.
So here’s to a new kind of public notoriety for Tiger–and prayers in the meantime for what must be a very, very difficult time. And kudos to Rick Reilly, who is living out that great biblical truth: “Let He who is without sin cast the first stone.”

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