So…did anyone watch Tiger Woods’ press conference today?
Reactions are all over the place – The Philadelphia Inquirer called it a “self-serving sham.” Sports Illustrated‘s Michael Rosenberg had the opposite opinion, saying Tiger showed some emotional vulnerability and finally “introduced himself” to the world for the first time in 14 years. Gloria Allred (predictably) used the opportunity for her own benefit and labeled it “a disgrace” and “a staged public relations stunt” (which struck me as funny, since…of course it is! All public addresses and press conferences are, right??). Even walking the halls of our office here in Newburyport, comments varied and I heard some people scoffing that today’s mea culpa was “too little, too late.” Others shrugged and said it was a “smart move – he’s got good handlers.” The one thing everyone can agree on? The whole ordeal was a PR nightmare from the get-go.
Personally, I think delivering that statement was the right thing to do. On one hand, he waited a long time to publicly address a very high-profile crisis…something I (or any of my colleagues) would likely never advise a client to do. Yet at the same time, waiting in this case gave Tiger a chance to step away from the public eye, seek counseling, and then communicate a message of sorrow, humility and regret with a touch more credibility. If he had come out of the gates apologetic right after the news broke, but hadn’t yet shown a commitment to change by going to a rehab facility, his words would have been buried under gossip and rumors and new discoveries of further indiscretions. Taking a few months to breathe, duck for cover, and then re-emerge was not a bad call, in my book.
Whether he’s truly committed to changing, taking responsibility for his actions, or is truly as remorseful as he should be is up to each of us to decide, I guess – but the point is, to the general public, today’s press conference at least gives him the opportunity to start to be seen that way.