Thursday, December 03, 2009

Tiger’s Transgressions: Are They Really a “Private Matter”?

A minor traffic accident for one of the great superstars of sports has escalated into a full-blown public relations crisis. Yesterday, Tiger Woods released his latest statement on the matter, saying, “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart” and asking that reporters and his fans respect his respect his privacy.

“Personal sins should not require press releases,” he wrote, “and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.”

It’s a beautifully crafted and moving plea, but also a little disingenuous. Unfortunately, as a result of his empyrean celebrity, Woods doesn’t really have a private life.
Avoidance of the press early on didn’t help Woods' case. He was wrong to reject questioning by police three times after making an appointment to speak with them and his subsequent failure to put all his cards on the table only increased the public's curiosity, while compromising his relationship with corporate sponsors.
Fortunately, Woods has spent so much time at the empyrean heights and amassed such a huge reserve of goodwill that I believe his reputation and advertising revenues will, by and large, remain intact. But he should now be aware that he is not invulnerable, and future buyers may be more hesitant. Because of his fame, he cannot expect the same “simple, human measure of privacy” of an ordinary citizen … particularly not today, when social media make everyone with a cell phone or a digital camera a potential gossip columnist.

Technorati Tags: Tiger Woods, crisis, communications, public relations, Makovsky

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