Did you catch the Tiger Woods, hmm, what was that spectacle called again? A statement? A press conference decidedly not in favor of questions from the press? A spoken love letter to his supporters and admirers?
I don’t know what it was, but it sure seems to have not been the best way for Tiger to reacquaint himself with the public. I’m not a sports agent though I have had some experiencing conducting certain aspects of an athlete’s publicity and this all seems so weird. I wonder sometimes if what got him in trouble in the first place, thinking he was above it all (that’s what’s been reported; not my own observations), is also making for some really unusual PR. Who’s making the decisions? Why does it feel as if there’s a lot of stumbling going on?
More important: what can we learn from it? Some observers (like real sports writers) think we ought to calm down. I agree. Others, of course, see more opportunity on the horizon—more speculation, etc. Well, we might learn that a press conference during which the press are not allowed to speak can be a very somber event. We might also learn that having your mom in the front row can feel really uncomfortable for the rest of the world who are left thinking, “She must really be ashamed . . .”
We also need to know when it’s time to move on. Hopefully, our clients don’t get into this kind of trouble and it’s all sort of moot for us. On the other hand, if they do get into some hot water, ask yourself how effective they’ll be in front of a camera or sitting across from a slew of reporters or simply talking to one on the phone. One of the criticisms to crop up regarding Tiger’s February 19th monologue is how stiff and insincere he appeared.
Clearly, the entire spectacle—and it is a spectacle—is complicated with many layers (timing, varying media reports, etc.), some more substantial than others. But the guy got caught and if he wants his reputation back, well, that will probably never happen. How can it? Still, there are probably loads of people, especially his golf fans, who are willing to not necessary forgive him but certainly happy to move on. After all, isn’t that what making a mistake, besides learning from it, is all about?