Tiger Woods’ scandal: What Leaders must do to recover Integrity and Image
By M. Joe Omeokwe, PhD
Special to USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, Houston
New York, December 11, 2009: Recovering personal integrity and personal image is always a tough act and may be tougher than doing all that was done to get to the pinnacle of present power or winning all those sport tournaments with flying colors. Take for example, Tiger Woods in his recent debacle could have done much since break of this scandal surrounding him.
He said in the evening of Friday December 11, 2009 that he is taking an indefinite leave from golf to try to save his marriage, following weeks of revelations, salacious allegations of extramarital affairs. The golf superstar said on his Web site: “I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person.” Tiger and his wife, Elin, have been married for 5 years; they have a 2-year-old daughter and a 10-month-old son.
As one of the world’s most influential athletes, Tiger Woods is a big business that generates more than $100 million a year that gave him a $1 billion net worth. Therefore, he has do something to ensure that this money does not stop rolling in. This very first thing Tiger has to do is to put the rumors of extramarital activity behind him.
The reason is simple: Nobody more so corporations or companies want to hang around with a loser or anyone with a tarnished image and lack of integrity. These organizations pay celebrities great sum of money for their endorsements because they want to be associated with a winner. That reputation makes it easier to convince people to buy their products. And naturally, when that winner turns into a loser, the companies want to run away from the loser as fast as they can. I am not suggesting that Woods has lost his skills as a golfer and neither are his sponsors suggesting same. But the reality is that none of these sleaze eruptions are going over so well with those sponsors’ target demographics.
Like all the personal failings of leaders and celebrities that were not well handled, the trickle of leaks in money pipeline could quickly turn into a torrent. So the question every leader dealing with a scandal faces is what he or she ought to do to keep that from happening.
The worst thing any leader dealing with a scandal will do is to go into a cocoon and hibernate hoping the story passes. But we must never forget that leaders and celebrities are celebrated by the masses and therefore events surrounding them are often quite unconscionably the property of the masses. Hence, the media has too much at stake — particularly given how much public interest there seems to be in whatever scandal that is in the air.
Left for me, Tiger Woods should have gone to The Oprah Winfrey Show to admit what he did within a day or two of the news coming out. This is the line of action that I am prescribing for every leader or celebrity that has fallen from public grace and facing a public scrutiny or scandal.
Every day that goes by when a leader or celebrity that has fallen from public grace and facing a public scrutiny or scandal says nothing is a day that the public’s appetite for contrition gets filled with mockery from TV comedians. And that’s not good for the companies that sponsors that leader or celebrity. Every leader or celebrity that has fallen from public grace and facing a public scrutiny or scandal must note the following:.
1. There is no point crying over split milk and there is no way he or she can turn back the clock now.
2. Doing a media tour with a spouse will be the starting point. That is the place where the leader ought to admit to what he did, ask for forgiveness and commit himself or herself to his or her family and to their profession..Sure it’ll be uncomfortable — but think of the personal and financial redemption that follows such a public contrition and such he or she get to keep that rainbow of endorsements going.
3. Those who have faith in God will do better if they seek sound counsel from other leaders of faith or such.
Omeokwe, Professor Emeritus at the Mathematics Department of the City University of New York and contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com, and the AfricanChristians@yahoogroups.com e-group, is the Senior Pastor The Harvest Center of the Vineyard International Christian Ministries in Bronx. He has a blog professorome okwe.blogspot.com
Tiger Woods is no Nelson Mandela!
By Chido Nwangwu (July 10, 2001)
Tiger’s father, Earl Woods, was recalling recently the day his son, Tiger, metSouth Africa‘s former president, Dr. Nelson Mandela: “it was the first time Tiger met a human being who was equal to him, who was as powerful as Tiger is.” Hello!? Brother Earl, Tiger “equal to” Mandela? Nonsense. I’ve also met and seen Mandela. Tiger Woods can hit a golf ball, alright, but he probably does not know (or relatively do much) about the fact millions of kids of African heritage, White kids and, in fact, among those of his self-styled ‘Cablinasian’ heritage who go to bed hungry, everyday. Those kids whose parents can afford it, see him on cereals packages. So much for his impact on their lives; or shall I say breakfast plates. To say the least, Earl Woods engaged in a scandalous abuse of analogy. To rank Tiger as “equal” to Mandela, in historic and present terms, is a maddening leap in grandiloquence. Hopefully, Earl is embarrassed, and should be, by his reckless lack of proportion. Tiger is not, and has never been, and will never be in Mandela’s league. Yet, for those who find any value in Earl’s spin, comparing Tiger to Mandela will be like to comparing Lakers’ Kobe Bryant to Martin Luther King, Jr., the late and esteemed civil rights leader.
Special to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston.
Tiger’s father, Earl Woods, was recalling recently the day his son, Tiger, met South Africa’s former president, Dr. Nelson Mandela: “it was the first time Tiger met a human being who was equal to him, who was as powerful as Tiger is.” Hello!? Brother Earl, Tiger “equal to” Mandela? Nonsense. I’ve also also met and seen Mandela. Tiger Woods can hit a golf ball, alright, but he probably does not know (or relatively do much) about the fact that millions of kids of African heritage, White kids and, in fact, among those of his self-styled ‘Cablinasian’ heritage who go to bed hungry, everyday. Those kids whose parents can afford it, see him on cereals packages. So much for his impact on their lives; or shall I say breakfast plates.
My point? Tiger Woods does not show a significant measure of social concern and progressive values to merit this “equal to Mandela” drivel. To say the least, Earl Woods engaged in a scandalous abuse of analogy.
While I agree that that Tiger Woods is a great sports personality, on historical consequence, powerful value and range, to bring such a one-on-one measure of the young man against Mandela’s record, Mandela’s inscrutable but majestic presence, Mandela’s unwavering but gracious and principled fights against all forms of injustice and bigotry, is to engage in privileged banality and simplistic reductionism of history to sheer sports entertainment.
To say the least, Mr. Woods engaged in a scandalous abuse of analogy. Worse, he seemed carried away in an unreflective sense of ahistorical measurement and a walk away from reality. Tiger can wow the crowd and adoring fans, seasonally, but Mandela’s contributions to mankind, his well-deserving mythology and gravitas will endure to the end of comprehensible history of mankind.
Shall we say, simply: Tiger Woods is famous, and has shattered a number golfing records, and carted away a dozen or so trophies. Before Tiger Woods was even born, and for that matter decades before his father Earl could play in any major gold club, Mandela was fighting against apartheid and setting a global standard against discriminations and assorted theologies of hate.
He has starred down and overcome, historically, ethnocentricism and institutionalized racism in his country. More than anything else, he liberated minds. Mandela has stature and global statesmanship which the young Woods’ Grand Slam championship and Masters trophies can never buy or earn.
His cheerleaders are taking their golf game too seriously when his father compares Tiger as “equal to him.” my goodness! Where’s his sense for proportion? I have walked (in the company of Walter Isaacson, managing editor of Time magazine, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and others in March 1998, during President Bill Clinton’s visit to South Africa) inside the particular prison cell where the very distinguished Mandela was held at an isolated spot at the ignoble Robben island operated by the goons of apartheid. Mandela; I have seen the statesmanship of Mandela on issues of race relations and nation-building, and especially on forgiveness; I have seen Mandela speak his truths firmly and certainly to the face of power and privilege that it’s almost entirely obscene to compare our father, the most credible and respected leader alive today to the competitive tallies made by hitting a milk-colored ball on lush, well-tended golf courses. Pointedly put, Tiger is a golf phenom, that is, too, a unilinear personality in a particular sport.
To rank Tiger as “equal” to Mandela, in historic and present terms, is a maddening leap in grandiloquence. Hopefully, Earl is embarrassed, and should be, by this lack of proportion. Tiger is not, and has never been, and will never be in Mandela’s league. Yet, for those who find any value in Earl’s spin, comparing Tiger to Mandela will be like to comparing Lakers’ Kobe Bryant to Martin Luther King, Jr., the late and esteemed civil rights leader.
Rather than Mandela and Tiger, it should be a comparison between Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. I believe Jordan is a more consummate and complete sports personality. Where do you start: is it Michael’s unique hang time? I believe that hang-time is a rare moment where physics and sporting agility and creativity mesh into one consummate show of skill and grace and power. Or is it Michael’s capability and every opponent’s fears that he could slam-dunk 10 points in 4 minutes? Don’t get me wrong, Kobe is very good and imaginative; but there’s one MJ, the master of he artistic flourish with the ball.
Any comparative example should be between MJ and Tiger (sports figures, not world political figures); but even there, MJ was a better sports artíste and had gazillions more charisma and flair to his game than Tiger. Even as he’s retired as an active player, contemplates a return, and currently works as an executive and basketball coach for the Washington Wizards, Michael Jordan remains one of the greatest icons of sports and moreso the living legend of this game of basketball. In my view, as I’ve stated previously at USAfricaonline.com, he’s the magic and the magician, all rolled into one. He brings the thrill, as much as he’s the thriller, of basketball. Even more than Tiger Woods, MJ played his game is such that whenever he plays, he elevated our minds and sports imaginations. In short, he draws a compelling, anticipatory suspension of our sports senses to …what will MJ do this time? Who else in basketball can create such animations of our sporting spirit and ululations of the mind? No one else but the Michael Jordan. The sheer artistry of his magic on basketball courts makes poetry. His hang-time is a mathematically executed footwork set on a mission to slam, dunk, and you recall the rest.
The fact is, were Michael Jordan a painter, we’d call him Michelangelo. He paints sporting and athletic masterpieces on the canvas of basketball courts.
Hopefully, I’ve made the case that comparing Tiger Woods to the titan of African nationalismNelson Mandela reflects such a reckless chutzpah and imaginativeness. Earl Woods probably needs to understand Mandela’s roles and global consequence in the transformation of minds and measurable movements in the recent history of the world. Mr. Woods’ spin that his talented son is “equal” to Mandela reflects a monocular view seeing nothing but sports celebritude; to be specific, golfing celebritude.
He fails to look at the more important angle of historical consequence, transformative value, social conscience and multi-platform value to mankind. He may be forgiven as merely reflecting the sheer joy of a proud father as opposed to amounting to any serious, contemplative measure of the two individuals: Mandela, being the man; while the Tiger is a gifted and hardworking young fellow galloping into all the known records in one sport.
Mandela is not just about a single sport or sheer charisma. Mandela, rock ribbed nationalist, visionary, exemplary icon in personal dignity, durable boxer, principled symbol for all believers in the inevitable triumph of committed democratic forces over any army/gang of tyranny and oppression in Africa and elsewhere, has become this decade’s ultimate measure for statesmanship, leadership, character and will.
To rank Tiger as “equal” to Mandela in historical and present terms, is a maddening leap into uncertain phantasmagoria and imaginative assumptions.
Long live Nelson Mandela. May your lineage endure!
Tiger, your best years are ahead, and hopefully, yet to come…
Nwangwu, recipient of the Journalism Excellence award (1997), is Founder and Publisher of USAfricaonline.com (first African-owned U.S.-based professional newspaper to be published on the internet), USAfrica The Newspaper, and The Black Business Journal. He also serves as an adviser to the Mayor of Houston on international business (Africa) and appears as an analyst on CNN, VOA, NPR, CBS News, NBC and ABC news affiliates.