Tiger Woods’ Mother in the Ethics Rough

“You know what? I’m so proud to be his mother. Period. This thing, it teaches him, just like golf. When he changes a swing… he wants to get better… He will start getting better… it’s just like that. Golf is just like life, when you make a mistake, you learn from your mistake and move on stronger. That’s the way he is. As a human being everyone has faults, makes mistakes and sins. We all do. But, we move on when we make a mistake and learn from it. I am upset the way media treated him like he’s a criminal…he didn’t kill anybody, he didn’t do anything illegal… They’ve being carrying on from thanksgiving until now, that’s not right! People don’t understand that Tiger has a very good heart and soul. Sometimes I think there is a complete double standard… He tried to improve himself. The tabloids and newspapers just killed him, held him back.. To me it looked like a double standard…When you make a mistake you learn from it and move on, that’s the way life is, that’s a human being. We’re not God, and he never claimed he was God. If anyone tells me to condemn him, I say look at yourself first.. .. I would … look in their eyes and tell them you’re not God!  This thing is a family matter… It’s not easy to be him. … (People) go to work 8 to 5 and go home to have a life with the family. Tiger can’t do that.”

—————Katilda Woods, Tiger’s mother, in remarks to the press following Woods’ statement and apology today, his first public appearance since a series of revelations about his multiple affairs.

Where to begin? I’m glad Mrs. Woods is proud of her son. That’s what mothers are for, in times like these. If only she had stopped there, before she plunged deep into the ethics rough. For example, I think Tiger’s been swinging enough, don’t you?

But Mrs. Woods decided to promote three of my least favorite rationalizations for terrible conduct, and then added one I had neglected.  Now that she mentions it, however, I hate that one too.

“Everyone makes mistakes.”  Sexual affairs with fourteen women (that we know of) while you are married, have two young children, and are accepting millions while packaging yourself as a role model and corporate symbol is not “a mistake.” It is, conservatively, hundreds, maybe thousands, of huge mistakes…or, in the alternative, just one, monstrous example of willful selfish conduct with no concern about its effect on others. The fact that “everyone makes mistakes” cannot excuse all bad conduct, no matter how irresponsible. This is the macro-version of “Everybody does it.” Everyone who makes “mistakes” on Tiger’s scale, Mrs. Woods, pays for it big time, and should.

“He didn’t kill anybody..” Oh, how I passionately hate this argument,  most recently used by Dodger slugger Manny Ramirez to excuse his suspension for steroid use. This is the detestable “It’s not the worst thing!” rationalization, as if we should only be critical of the worst conduct imaginable (What would that be, I wonder? Destroying Alderon with the Death Star? Wiping out Vulcan with “red matter”?) and everything else gets a pass. It’s a great dodge, you have to admit. Ted Bundy can argue, “Be reasonable! It’s not like I’m a mass murder like Hitler!” and Hitler can say, “Well, it’s not like I killed as many people as Stalin!,” and Stalin can say, “Hey, it’s not like I wiped out as many folks as Mao!” And Mao…well, there’s always Alderon and Vulcan.

“He didn’t do anything illegal.” Memorably employed on his own behalf by habitually-crooked D.C. City Councilman Marion Barry, to brush aside his using a taxpayer-financed city job to enrich his qualification-challenged girlfriend (illegal now, not illegal when he did it), this rationalization is the signature call of the ethically clueless and the shamelessly irresponsible. If this is what Tiger was taught at his mother’s knee, then his sociopathic conduct isn’t all that surprising. We can do horrible, hurtful, lifetime damage to others without breaking a single law. There are many crimes far less offensive than what Woods has done.

And finally,

“He never claimed he was God.” Boy…Tiger’s mother can turn on a dime. First she’s excusing her son because he’s not a murderer, then she’s arguing that he’s being held to the standard of being God. How about the reasonable standard applicable to a public figure who represents himself to the public as a sports hero, a devoted father and husband, and a trustworthy spokesperson for numerous products? Yes, it’s true, God would be a terrific Nike salesman (salesdeity?) and if he took the gig, then we would apply that “God standard.” But God is irrelevant to Tiger Woods. He didn’t claim to be God, but he deceived family, fans and employers about what he did claim to be.

Mrs. Woods also drags in the “we’re not God” bit, which presupposes that unless someone is divine, he or she should be disqualified from declaring that Tiger’s conduct is mean, dishonest and sleazy compared to just about everyone else on earth but John Edwards. And what “double standard”? Did the press go easier on another married sports hero and highly-paid corporate symbol who turned out have a completely phony public image and who had serial affairs with cookie-cutter lingerie models, B-girls, paid escorts and wanna-be actresses? Gee, I guess I missed that!

Yes, I’m glad she’s proud of Tiger. But she shouldn’t expect anyone else to be.

18 thoughts on “Tiger Woods’ Mother in the Ethics Rough

  1. Tiger doesn’t need to explain anything to anyone, maybe the media should be covering aspects of his tramp-wife instead.

  2. Let’s just see now. Tiger Woods was a great golfer, a serial adulterer, who presented himself as a “perfect” sportsman, husband, and father. Only the”sportsman” part has come to be true.

    Just because (s0 far) he’s not a “murderer.” doesn’t make him less immoral, and doesn’t lessen the negative impact on his wife and children. “Sex addict” has been used as an excuse by many. I don’t buy it. Do you ever see a plumber use this as an excuse? Somehow it’s only the Wade Boggs and Tiger Woods types who get away with it.

    I completely understand his mother’s ill-conceived and confused attempt to defend him. But he chose to be in the limelight (or his father did), and he is young enough to have seen what it means to be a sports “hero” to millions of kids.

    Aside from that, what upstanding man could do this to his wife and family? I know that TV and movies make unfaithfulness a normal thing, but for the general population, I don’t believe it. There is a certain hubris that attaches to fame, and Tiger Woods fell prey to it.

    I don’t buy his excuses. I don’t forgive him. He (and his dear mother) can rationalize all they want, but the bottom line is that his public persona was a total sham, and deep down he’s a creep.

    • Your jealousy over Tiger’s conduct is quite apparent. Try, instead, to just deal with the legal issues instead of just how you personally feel about your own speculations. What Tiger did or didn’t do is no one else’s business, not even yours no matter how desperately you want it to be.

      • Thanks for the chuckle. Tiger traded in the right to make THAT argument when he accepted the millions for endorsement deals, and put his face in my living room. And since the ethics of public persons and events is precisely my business, your comment is doubly mistaken.

        There may be someone out there that I’m LESS jealous of than Tiger Woods…John Edwards comes to mind…Stephen Hawking? Nooo…let’s see…that woman who had her face ripped off by the chimp? Yes, she would be one….

        You need to find better fallen celebs to defend. Michael Richards is still looking for someone.., and at least his “mistake” happened in only one night. Come to think of it, I’m not jealous of him, either.

  3. Tiger didn’t trade anything for anything, he simply banged some willing broads just like his wife had done to guys years before. No harm, no foul, and not the public’s business.

  4. Michelle, I am willing to debate with people I disagree with, and even people whom I think might be a missing a few shingles on the roof. What I will not do is let someone who simply keeps repeating the same silly thing regardless of relevance or facts continue to do take up space here. Woods is a paid hero, get it? The job pays him millions, and it obligates him to keep his nose clean and not embarrass his profession, his sponsors, or the people that pay his fees. He has caused stocks to drop, losses of sales, loss of prestige. Those ARE facts. He understood the job of public/figure celebrities, he screwed it up, and that’s news, as well as cause for justifiable criticism. Now, unless you have something intelligent to add that isn’t “Tiger doesn’t owe anybody anything,” or “his wife was fooling around too” or ” you’re just jealous” or “I am the Lizard King,” I’m deleting your next post.

    • You are captive of the “everybody does it” fallacy. It is, as my essay indicated, the hallmark of the ethically ignorant. Read the Rules section, and educacte yourself on some basics, please. Second, TIGER WOODS ISN’T “MILLIONS OF OTHERS,” NOW, IS HE? If he was, then he wouldn’t be paid what he is. He is paid to be special, and has a duty to be better than “a million others.” That’s it. Now figure it out.

  5. The nerd in me wishes to inform you, however irrelevant it is, that you have misspelled Alderaan. =) Just to nitpick a little..

  6. I realize Katilda practices Buddhism so I am not sure if she has a belief in God. I hope that, if Tiger does believe in God, any God, he realizes that he will get his strength from realizing the Kindgom of God is Within. The acronym KOGIWU can remind you of this. Check out http://www.kogiwu.com

  7. Thanks for finding this and writing the essay. I watched the Tiger statement live in its entirety. The whole time he was speaking, I turned up my “ethics alarm” sensor. I thought his speech was well written and his word choices and messages were good. A lot of effort was put into that speech and I almost feel as if he might have gotten a few talking points from this site.

    With that said, I can’t believe his mom wasn’t given an equally well bred speech to follow. Tiger seems to have accepted responsibility and acknowledged his actions. Good for him. It won’t help him in the long run if the people around him continue to try to make excuses for him. He’s not trying to make excuses for himself now – they shouldn’t try to either.

  8. Good post. It seems most of us have a tendency to dismiss our own sins (or the sins of our rich and famous son).

    The interesting line in my opinion is, “People don’t understand that Tiger has a very good heart and soul.”

    It depends on how you define “good,” but he’s not good by my definition. I don’t consider adulterers to be good people. Jesus said, “No one is good—except God alone” (Luke 18:19). That would include me.


    • Thanks, Bill. The response that a person who has done something over a long period that is dishonest, hurtful and wrong is nonetheless “good” had perplexed me, ever since I heard it applied to Archbishop Law, the Boston cleric who willfully oversaw child abuse by many priests for many years. You know—“he’s really a good man, he just knowingly let hundreds of innocents be sexually molested.” How can people say this? I have come to believe that what they are really saying is that he/she is capable of being good…that they aren’t evil, that this particular horrible conduct doesn’t mean we should hate them. OK—I buy that, if that is what is really meant. I reserve the right to conclude that some bad acts DO mean that the actor is just plain rotten to the core. Tiger’s infidelities leave him on the hopeful side of that equation, but I really wish people, fans and mothers would avoid that definition of “good.” Good people may cheat on their spouses under certain circumstances, but what Woods did goes way, way beyond that. If he’s truly “good,” he has some proving to do.

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