Just finished watching the Tiger Woods press conference, and I think I'm going to be sick. I couldn't disagree more with ESPN's initial reaction to his statement. Naturally Woods is a huge name, and ESPN is probably hoping to get an exclusive with him, but to hear Rick Reilly and Andy North talk about how sincere and apologetic he sounded is rather ridiculous to me.
Where in any of what all of us just saw was there any form of a sincere apology? I didn't see someone who was truly sorry for hurting people around him. Instead I saw someone who seemed more worried about how much he had hurt himself and his own image. Those of you watching the ABCNews.com broadcast of the speech on Hulu were lucky enough to see a fair and honest assessment of Tiger's words. I never caught the guys last name, but when asked what he thought about the speech, ABC's analyst, who I know only as Ron, said that the whole thing was pretty bad. To paraphrase, he said the speech seemed overly rehearsed, poorly delivered and insincere considering how long Tiger waited to actually make it. I couldn't agree more.
It's sad really. Even as I'm writing this I have ESPN on in the background. It's making me sort of angry listening to the different ESPN analysts calling his speech compelling and from the heart. Isn't ESPN supposed to have the best sports minds in the world working for them? They are the top sports network in the world. I wish some of them had some integrity on this one. They're all saying exactly what I'm sure ESPN executives hoped they'd say, because now they look like the network that's on Tiger's side.
However, I am no longer on his side. I used to watch golf frequently and the main reason was Tiger Woods. Now things have definitely changed. I was willing to give him a chance after everything happened, but this is too much. Waiting three months for this is completely absurd. I'm not saying Tiger owes me or any of you anything, because, to be honest, he doesn't. But if he's going to make a speech and apologize, at least he should sound like he means it.
From the seemingly rehearsed raising of his voice at certain points during the speech, to the completely awkward hugs at the end, Tiger didn't show any heart or actual regret about what he did in any of this. Sure he seems regretful, but it seems to be more about how he screwed up his own life rather than how he screwed up the lives of those around him. He wanted sympathy for himself, and unfortunately that's what it seems ESPN is giving him. It's a shame that so many watch ESPN and will have that opinion hammered into their brains, but it's the sports world we live in.
To be more specific about my opinion here's a list of what I didn't like about the speech:
-The extremely ridiculous exclusiveness of the whole thing. (It was like a presidential speech almost)
-The fact that it seemed like he read off the paper when to raise his voice and look directly into the camera.
-His forgetfulness to apologize to other PGA players who have had to deal with ridiculous questions since his transgressions (I may have missed if he did apologize to them because I missed about a minute of the speech)
-His need to bring up his charity foundation. (I understand he wants to apologize to them but it seemed more like he was trying to point out all the good things he does)
-The strategically planned camera placement that showed the audience. (His mom and two other women were main fixtures of the picture, which seems planned considering women are likely the most offended by his actions)
-The awkward and seemingly planned hugs at the end of the speech. (Like he wouldn't have been able to hug them when the cameras weren't rolling)
-On a side note: I hate the fact that before the speech PGA officials said that anyone heckling Tiger at all at a tournament will be kicked out immediately. That's not just exclusive to vulgarities either. Any heckling at all will not be tolerated. They say it's because they want to protect the integrity of the game. That's Funny.