Monday, December 14, 2009

Surprise! Jay Mariotti overreacts in Tiger drama.

Here's the least shocking event to come out of Tigergate: Jay Mariotti is overreacting. Mariotti has declared in his Fanhouse column that Tiger Woods can't repair the damage his sexcapades have caused. In fact the headline reads "Can Tiger Ever Recover? Answer Is No. "
"He's now a laughingstock, a pariah, a corporate red flag and the antithesis of the role model we thought he was for a dozen years," Mariotti writes. " Simply, a public figure of his magnitude can't portray himself in an impeccable, squeaky-clean way for so long, only to plunge into sordid, sleazy affairs with women so pathetically beneath his stature. The result has been a relentless firestorm of widespread backlash, all over the world, and even a man who has demonstrated enormous emotional strength on the course -- winning the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg, you remember -- will have difficulty resuming life as Tiger Woods."
As usual Mariotti throws the baby out with the bathwater. Is Woods going to be seen as a paragon of virtue again? Probably not. Is Woods career toast. Probably not.
Mariotti seems to forget that Tiger Woods isn't the first celebrity to be caught in a big scandal. He also forgets that in many cases, celebrities have come back to regain their superstardom or even reaching new heights. Elizabeth Taylor made a career over her private life as much as she did her movie roles. She was even able to turn a stint in the Betty Ford Clinic into a positive story of personal recovery and became an inspiration to many.
Even look at possibly the biggest pre-Tiger uber-media scandal: Brittney Spears. A couple of years ago, more than a few in the media declared her career over. How's that projection panning out? Spears has done quite nicely for herself. She even had a recent number one single on the Billboard "Hot 100" chart with "3."
Then of course there's Madonna. If she had a dollar for every time a media pundit declared her career over due to a scandal she'd be a millionaire. Oh wait, she is a millionaire.
Or how about Bill Clinton? His Presidency survived a sex scandal where he came out way better in the end than some of his enemies.
Mariotti predicts that when Woods comes back it will take him "into his 40s" to pass Jack Nicklaus' record for most majors. Don't hold your breath there, Jay. He'll be 34 on December 30. Even with assuming he takes about a year off (and I'll wouldn't be shocked if he's back before then), Woods could win a major a year and still break Nicklaus record when he's 39. And it might not take him that long.
Yes, Woods has lost a few sponsors. The only sponsor that really matters (Nike) hasn't yet. It would be a huge shock if they did. This is the company that turn past sex scandal de jour Kobe Bryant into a puppet. And his scandal had criminal charges, for crying out loud (even if they were dropped). It would probably have to take something really nasty to make Nike drop Woods.
It would probably take some kind of serious criminal charges to really total Woods' career.
It's classic Mariotti to run around like Chicken Little saying the sky is falling. Usually it isn' t the case. Tigergate is a big, but in many ways it's not as career threatening as Mariotti and others might think. Woods will adapt his public persona post-scandal, bit he won't be as worse for wear as some think.

(via Fanhouse)

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