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Buster Olney is right on the money

Feb 18, 2010, 1:20 PM EDT

I rip reporters when I think they go off track on the steroids business, most recently with Mark McGwire, so it’s only fair that I point out when someone stone-cold nails it, as Buster Olney did with what he wrote today regarding McGwire (and Tiger Woods):

Why would Tiger Woods need to say he’s sorry out loud? Isn’t that
something that should really be reserved for his family? If Tiger Woods
wanted to bare his soul for the benefit of the public he felt he
betrayed in some way, he’d take all and any questions. If he doesn’t
feel that way … isn’t this whole process all a charade concocted for
the consumption of the media that must be fed? . . .

. . . Mark McGwire has made it clear that he doesn’t feel like his use of
performance-enhancing drugs helped him as a player, and whether we
agree with that or not, this is his stance, which he reiterated
Wednesday. So why would he apologize out loud? Really, it was fairly
evident that his remorse is built in disappointing his father, his son,
Tony La Russa, and others close to him.

But McGwire did his
thing, and now Tiger Woods will follow, in the confessors’ version of
the media perp walk. None of it speaks well of where we are in 2010, in
this business of truth-seeking.

McGwire had to be at least somewhat forthcoming simply because he was asking for a job, and MLB probably wouldn’t have approved of it if he didn’t say something,* but I think he’s said all we can expect of him. But Buster is absolutely right that this ongoing drama, such as it is, is more about the media’s sense of self-entitlement than it is about remorse, real or imagined.

*Woods, on the other hand could easily issue a press release that says “I have made apologies to those who are entitled to them, and will say nothing further about my family or my personal life in public from now on.  I will resume playing golf in the ThusandSuch Invitational this April.  Any questions that aren’t about golf will be ignored. Thanks.” In fact, I hope he does something like that and transforms this into a full-blown pro wrestling-style heel turn. What will people do? He’s Tiger Woods. Golf needs him more than he needs it right now.

  1. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    Fully agree Craig, but I need to quibble with Buster about:

    If Tiger Woods wanted to bare his soul for the benefit of the public he felt he betrayed in some way, he’d take all and any questions.

    Terrible logical fallacy here. Tiger doesn’t need to apologize to the public for anything. He did nothing different than Congressmen, Presidents, heads of business, hell what thousands of men and women due every day (cheat on significant others). The moral outrage over what he did is inversely proportional to how much it directly affects us each day.
    Now for some fun:
    /tinfoil hat
    Anyone else think he’s making this statement, the same day the Accenture sponsored event starts, to get back at the same sponsor who was the first to cut him?
    /tinfoil hat

  2. Old Gator - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    To be honest (truthful?), golf interests me just a little bit less than plumbing. Oscar Wilde had it right when he described it as “a nice walk, ruined.” Celebrity confessions interest be even less than celebrity home video sex tapes that mysteriously found their way onto YouTube. Does anyone really want to watch Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian being boned while wearing the same vacuuous expressions on their faces – the glowing pupils mean that the camera light is bouncing off the mucous membrane all the way at the backs of their skulls – that they have on tabloid covers at the local supermarket checkout? If you do, boy, you really need to get a life. If you even bothered to pay attention to Tiger’s bloviations today, you need not only to get a life, but to call Bill Shattner and have him tell you to get one, if not several, considering the way you seem to waste the ones you already have, and then finish off his advice with “and don’t waste my time again.”

  3. Charles Gates - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Some (old white) guy on Morning Joe this morning questioned whether the reason that Tiger’s press conference will only be attended by media of his choosing is because he doesn’t want to be asked whether or not he ever used steroids. He, the (old white) guy, reasoned that if (rough quote): “he cheated on his wife, what else did he cheat on? Golf? Everyone saw how he bulked up. I’m not saying he used steroids, but I’d bet he doesn’t want anyone to ask that question.”

  4. Megary - Feb 18, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    RE: McGwire. Since he cheated the game of baseball, he needed to apologize to the fans. If he really wanted to get back in everyone’s good graces, he should have also told the truth. However, fans were only entitled to the apology.
    RE: Tiger. Unless this is Step III of his therapy, or his wife’s idea to humiliate him as he did her, then I have no interest in anything he has to say. Nor am I entitled to hear it.

  5. JasonC23 - Feb 18, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    I’m sure that after Tiger offers the media the apology it is demanding of him, the media will accept it, stop ripping him, and go back to focusing on…
    OK, sorry, couldn’t make it through that with a straight face.
    Let’s just cut to the chase…
    Media: Apologize!
    Tiger: Sorry.
    Media: Apologize better!

  6. NaOH - Feb 18, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Let me see if I’ve got this correct: We’re praising a sportswriter for criticizing an event about which we don’t yet now what will occur. I’m not certain which is more disturbing, the sanctimonious presumptuousness or the complimentary response to it.

  7. John Willumsen - Feb 18, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    I’ve been saying Tiger should turn heel for weeks. I mean the booking writes itself. Tiger comes out at the press conference looking all hang-doggy and apologetic, and then steps to the mic and says “I need to make an apology about my infidelity. I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t do it more!” And then he needs to go on a rant about how he’s the best and no one can touch him, and then he walks off with two beautiful women in tow. Then Phil Mickelson gets positioned as the sympathetic face, who plays by the rules and loves his family and who kept getting beaten by Tiger, but now he’s had enough and he’s going to stand up for all the good folk out there and take Tiger down once and for all. Every time Tiger takes to a tee he’ll be greeted by a chorus of boos, and Mickelson will be greeted with chants of “Lefty! Lefty!” Unfortunately, in this particular fantasy Tiger is playing the role of Ric Flair, so ultimately he’ll lie, cheat and steal his way to the top. Hopefully Tiger starts wearing sequined robes soon.

  8. Joey B - Feb 18, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    “Let’s just cut to the chase…
    Media: Apologize!
    Tiger: Sorry.
    Media: Apologize better!”
    I think y’all have this completely backwards. The press is not forcing Tiger to come out of his house. They aren’t forcing Tiger to hold a press conference. They aren’t forcing him to aplogize.
    Tiger wants his $100M in endorsements back, so he is hoping to use the press to further his agenda.
    Y’all are right in that he doesn’t have to apolgize. What I don’t get is the reason why you think this is a media issue, when Tiger is the orchestrating everything? I mean, if he wants, he can just play golf, ignore the meida, and cut his endorsements to $50M.
    Right?

  9. Jonny5 - Feb 18, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    It’s funy that you mention this today, because just last night after hearing Tiger would apologize friday for his adultry ,I told my brother in law over a beer…” I hope Tiger gets up and points to all the reporters and says “F you,F you,F you,F you,F you,and F you. It’s none of your damn buisiness.” then quietly walks off stage. His personal life and where his most prized putter has been should be seperate from his sports career. Magic Johnson comes to mind. Did his humping get in the way of his career? Nope.Well not until he got “Bad meat in the can” disease anyway…….

  10. tadthebad - Feb 18, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    “Let me see if I’ve got this correct: We’re praising a sportswriter for criticizing an event about which we don’t yet now what will occur. I’m not certain which is more disturbing, the sanctimonious presumptuousness or the complimentary response to it.”…
    … or the self-righteous evaluation of the entire scenario by an apparent chemist?

  11. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Feb 18, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    I hope Tiger gets up and points to all the reporters and says “F you,F you,F you,F you,F you, you’re cool, and F you. It’s none of your damn buisiness.”

    fix’t :)
    And didn’t Magic haven’t to leave the game after his “indiscretions”, obviously not because of the indiscretions but the result? I’d have stuck with guys like Travis Henry and Shawn Kemp who seemed to try and repopulate the world by themselves.

  12. Joey B - Feb 18, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    “I hope Tiger gets up and points to all the reporters and says “F you,F you,F you,F you,F you,and F you. It’s none of your damn buisiness.” then quietly walks off stage. His personal life and where his most prized putter has been should be seperate from his sports career.”
    But this is neither about his sports career nor his personal life. It’s about money. Tiger wants his endorsements back. He’s not barred from playing golf. He’s not barred from any restaurant or bar or anything else. It’s not about the HOF.
    The press isn’t demanding an apology, his agent is. His publicist is. The press isn’t even a player here. They have a select few that are there for no other purpose than to publicize his agenda.
    Some of the people in here are so far off the path that they aren’t even in the forest anymore.

  13. scatterbrian - Feb 18, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Americans have a silly notion that, because they are fans of a famous person and have invested time watching and following the famous person, that they deserve an apology if/when famous person has some public transgression. I imagine a scenario running into McGwire in a Starbucks near Saddleback College:
    Me: Hey, Mr. McGwire. Big fan.
    MM: Oh, hi. Thanks.
    Me: I grew up an A’s fan and I followed your career since you were a rookie.
    MM: Wow, thanks. It’s always good to meet a fan. Speaking of which, I’ve been meaning to talk to you. Remember how you used to take BART to the Coliseum to watch us play, and how how you used to collect my baseball cards and put them in binders in those plastic sleeves, and how you basically spent your paper route and pizza delivery money on the A’s? Well, you most likely know I was using steroids back then–not to be better, just to get back on the field–but I still think I owe you an apology. I really am sorry.
    Me: That’s all I needed to hear, Mac.
    MM: So, no hard feelings then? Buy you a latte?

  14. Jonny5 - Feb 18, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    “Some of the people in here are so far off the path that they aren’t even in the forest anymore.”
    If you think he’ll be endorsing anything but condoms for the next 20 years you’re an idiot!!! Think about it, Tiger and his publicists know damn well he’ll never get his endorsements back. He will forever be tarnished by this ,and his wallet will feel it most.

  15. Joey B - Feb 18, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    “If you think he’ll be endorsing anything but condoms for the next 20 years you’re an idiot!!!”
    Did Kobe, and others, not get their endorsements back? He’ll get his endorsements back in another year or two. Not everyone, but he’ll be back.

  16. Michael - Feb 18, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    Agreed – the “any and all questions” thing is the media’s idea of what the people want, not what people need.
    Answering any and all questions would sell more newspapers, that’s about it.

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