NEW YORK (
) - Everybody's
, but a lot of the scuttlebutt out there is quite boneheaded, in my humble opinion.
I am particular amused by those who pompously stand up like righteous fellows and advise him to hold a press conference and "come clean." Equally moronic, in my view, was the poor, limp apology that he was advised to offer by some genius or other. As readers of this space may know, I strongly believe that apologies in this culture are greeted with lusty calls for the apologizer's execution.
As a student of the subject, I would offer some guidelines to Tiger's handlers, some of them to be considered in retrospect, others that may guide the road ahead, if such road there be.
Level 1 Problem: One long-term indiscretion that has been concealed for years and only recently come to light.
Solution: Sit-down with Larry King. Implement three-year reputational turnaround campaign.
Level 2 Problem: Sleazy affair with one (or possibly two) bimbos whose pictures have been provided to tabloids. Possibly drug or alcohol abuse involved.
Solution: Quiet withdrawal from public life for some time to address substance abuse issues in formal rehab. Action is announced via public statement made either on personal Web page or via legal representative, with pleas for public's understanding and humanity. Ha ha ha.
After that, book lunches in prominent watering holes. Start a blog. Phase back into the mainstream. There is life after this particular death, unless perhaps you were the one responsible for prosecuting said bimbos and their clientele.
Level 3 Problem: More than seven lithe young sexual partners coming out of the woodwork, none of whom has any reticence about revealing pictures of themselves, text messages, e-mails, letters, tapes of phone messages, etc. TMZ fully engaged on predatory mission. Possible billion-dollar economic implications. Life as it was previously known is over.
Solution: Silence. As utter and complete as the interstitial material between the stars. Wait for interest in the matter to subside, as they all do, eventually, even if the news cycle extends for months it will eventually end.
After the long period of negation and absence is over, the chastened individual may emerge into the sunlight, pale and trembling, and throw himself upon the mercy of the collective consciousness, with some symbolic retribution involved. Michael Vick championing the rights of animals comes to mind.
These are not all the levels, of course. And most instances involve some mingling of all three. The goal in each case, however, is the same: NOT to allow the repulsive, drooling, atavistic drive of the public maw to swallow the miscreant, i.e. you.
Level 1 problems should not be managed so that they escalate to Level 2 problems, then on to Level 3 and beyond. This is the natural shape that the media, both mainstream and otherwise, would like the disaster to take, and the public goes right along with that scenario 100%. In general, calls for people to "come clean" are very often nothing more than disguised cries for blood and expressions of disappointment when that beverage is not made available.
In short, Tiger is pretty much doing what he has to do right now, with the possible exception of that apology, which provided a complete news cycle when it was issued and mandated much greater space in all the thirsty media.
At this point, the randy champion's job should be to deprive the story of oxygen for as long as he possibly can. True, he's getting no help from the skeins of women who are now taking money to sell him out. His wife is understandably no help at all. He has also reportedly made his mother-in-law ill.
His endorsement ads are fast disappearing from the media. And there's still plenty of mystery around that car crash, which may or may not involve some medication issues. And he's supposed to get up in front of the media and pour out his obviously tormented heart? Come on!
My advice to Tiger, for what it's worth, is to say nothing more about his personal life, ever. If things get legal, allow his lawyers to speak for him. Keep his temper. Try to maintain his cool if he can. Encourage the media to investigate the subject of sex addiction. And as soon as possible get out there and do what he does for a living: hit that little white ball like no man who ever went before.
You'd be amazed how forgiving the public is to guys who can take the heat and still play a world-class game.