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KELLY: Leave Tiger to his golf game

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Jack

By now you’ve heard all about what happened to Tiger Woods Thanksgiving night.

Reports are conflicting. Rumors are swirling. And yet we’re no closer to figuring out just what happened around 2 a.m. Friday morning.

Local news outlets reported that police were called to Woods’ Orlando-area mansion after he crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and a tree. His wife, Swedish model Elin Nordegren, smashed his back window with a golf club He was taken to a hospital, treated for facial cuts and bruises, and released. Alcohol was not a factor. That’s all we know for sure. Woods and his wife have refused to speak with authorities, which is legal.

Gossip site TMZ.com reported Nordegren caused Woods’ injuries after she caught him cheating. TMZ (of course citing an unnamed source) asserts Woods crashed his SUV while trying to flee their home.

No one, besides Tiger and Elin, knows the truth for certain. Police investigators, television talking heads and sports columnists have their opinions regarding exactly what went down.

Since I have no real information, aside from the surely erroneous reports on Deadspin and TMZ, it’s pointless for me to give my two cents and perpetuate what’s already pure rumor.

Instead, I think the issue here — one that we can actually intelligently discuss instead of gossip endlessly about — is our fascination with celebrities and our desire to see them fail.

People criticize athletes under the guise of, “They’re role models. They’re setting a bad example for the kids!” I call bull. Using the “kids” criticism allows them to disguise their schadenfreude as feigned indignation.

No reasonable person should expect a professional athlete to be excellent at anything other than his or her chosen craft. Parents should explain to their children that these men and women are very good at the sports they play, but they’re not necessarily great people away from the game.

Boiled down to its core, the reason people take pleasure in seeing athletes, actors and other entertainers fall from grace lies in their own perceived inadequacies.

They see these celebrities on TV every day, see their charmed lives, how great they are at whatever they do … and feel crappy about themselves. Their mundane lives pale in comparison.

Somehow, it must be human nature to want to see those in a so-called better position than you suffer. Why else would gossip newspapers, magazines and Web sites be so widespread?

The people who celebrated baseball slugger Josh Hamilton kicking his drug habit and salvaging his ability to smash a baseball — emphasizing how tough it was to overcome addiction — were the same people who jumped on him for relapsing in a Tempe bar.

Similar things happened a couple years ago with David Hasselhoff and Alec Baldwin. Hasselhoff was filmed in a drunken haze. Baldwin was recorded yelling at his young daughter on a voicemail, amidst a bitter custody battle with his ex-wife. And I don’t even need to explain what happened in the last few years with Britney Spears.

And with all these cases, the same thing happened. The video, audio and photos were plastered all over TV and the Internet. People couldn’t look away.

I’m not trying to blindly defend celebrities. I know that by virtue of being a public figure they accept what comes with the territory. But the question remains: Why are we so obsessed with watching them break down in their weakest moments?

The hypocrisy of the whole thing is suffocating. Let’s let celebrities be who they are — performers, entertainers, athletes, actors — and nothing more.

In Woods’ own words, “I’m a human … I’m not perfect.”

We all are. So let’s stop pretending superhuman ability in athletics or entertainment translates to superhuman ability in being human. No one is immune to shortcomings.

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1 Comment

One Response to “KELLY: Leave Tiger to his golf game”

  1. keeno on December 1st, 2009 9:11 am

    ah it must be tough being in the public eye sometimes. Sure you get all the perks, but now and again things come back and bite you in the behind

    Like The Hoff’s commercial for a vacuum penis pump

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2torN-iKOuY&fmt=18

    it’s a bit of fun 😉

    seriously though, I hope he keeps himself fit and happy and healthy

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