[photo credit: cablinasian like me]
I am not one to deal in idle gossip, and I know you all are probably so done with the whole Tiger Woods saga, but even as the story appears to die out and the media seems to want to move on, new details emerge.
For instance, the total number of women with possible romantic ties to Tiger has grown to nine, possibly ten. And if that was not enough, two of the women stated that he did not like to use condoms, so he put not only himself but his wife and other partners in danger as well. Had enough yet? But there’s more.
It was also reported that one of the women involved is offering nude pictures taken from his cell phone for sale to the highest bidder, and additionally, the allegations that some of the trysts took place in his Florida home he shared with his wife and children have caused his wife to move out.
Admittedly, I have no idea how much of this is true and how much is simply rumor and innuendo, but I do know that if you repeat a lie often enough, it sometimes takes on the guise of truth.
And in speaking to others about Tiger’s future and according to experts, the general consensus was that this incident would have not bearing on his career or his many endorsement deals. However, that was before the other women started coming out of the woodwork, and the other potentially damaging information came to light. Now, Tiger’s character is really called into question, and his future seems up in the air.
But the question I have is, if things really begin to go downhill for him, if the whole situation begins to spiral completely out of control, as it appears it is doing, and he stands to lose everything—the support of his sponsors and the concomitant lucrative endorsement deals—what will his posture be toward his ethic background then?
If you remember, when Tiger won the Master’s Tournament at age twenty-one, he made the infamous comment to Oprah that he did not identify as Black but as Cablinasian, a combination of Caucasian, Black, Indian, and Asian. He went even further in stating that it troubled him to be identified as Black.
However, if you look at recent history, many who did not identify as Black, or who seemingly had cut their ties to the Black community, came rushing back when the chips were down.
Do you remember the case of one Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson? Before his 1995 trial for the death of his wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, Simpson seemed wholly disconnected from the African American community. However, following his acquittal by a practically all-Black jury, Simpson became ultra-Black. Suddenly, he was being photographed all up in Watts and Compton with Uncle Al Sharpton, eating soul food and offering praise and worship to Black Jesus in Black congregations.
It seems that facing a prison term of life without parole helps a man finally make up his mind in matters of race and religion.
And what about Michael Jackson? People were questioning both his commitment to the Black community as well as his desire to even remain Black when his legal troubles convinced him that “It Doesn’t Matter If You Are Black or White,” the long arm of the law will come after you. And then after his album “Invincible” tanked, he too sought out Uncle Al Sharpton to shepherd him back into Blackness.
The Black community welcomed both men back with open arms. Adoring crowds even greeted Simpson in Watts as if he were some kind of conquering hero. But both these men shared a pre-fame affinity with Black folks. O.J. grew up in a predominately Black, inner-city neighborhood and shared a similar narrative with Black folk. And though fame came to Michael Jackson when he was yet very young, most Black folk of a certain age still remembered a pre-plastic surgery Michael with the negroid nose and clung tenaciously to this image.
Additionally, both men engaged in an activity that Black folk readily identified with and participated in, football and music, whereas until Tiger came along, not many Black folk had anything to do with golf.
But Tiger does not have any of these advantages; though we have claimed him and embraced him, we have never really known him, and he has never expressed any pressing need to get to know us. I wonder if Uncle Al Sharpton would be available for a back to Black tour for him?
However, in the final analysis, this is how the ball bounces. Despite his malfeasance, I feel a sense of pity for him. Deviant behavior does not just occur out of nowhere; usually it can be traced back to some root cause.
And I do not claim to be some kind of psychologist, but I seem to sense in Tiger a lost, lonely child. Just like Michael Jackson, he has been a prodigy for most of his life. He has had people continually telling him how great he is, how wonderful he is, and stroking his ego. Until now, I do not ever recall him receiving any bad press.
Now, suddenly, he has been put right squarely on front street. Now all those women who he thought really loved him—because after all, he is Tiger Woods—are requiring a check for their silence.
Also, if his wife has really left him, and she has every reason to do so, I am sure he is feeling really alone right about now. He is perhaps bewildered and confused by this whole turn of events. Not too long ago, everyone seemed to be singing his praises; he was the golden boy, and his character went unquestioned. Today he is a punch line in an SNL spoof.
But how far will his descent go? Will things get so bad that he will feel the need to become Black?