Friday, February 19, 2010

Oh My God Rick Reilly Shut Up

I wanted to avoid talking about this Tiger Woods press conference. Really, I did. I am so unbelievably tired of this story -- if for no other reason than it is absolutely none of our business -- and yet, well, here I am. Not so much because I feel the need to criticize Tiger, though I am now convinced that he is the worst public speaker alive, but moreso because I need to explain something very clearly to ESPN commentator and former Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly.

Rick. Buddy. Tiger did not cheat on you. He cheated on his wife. Despite how badly you might want to be her, you, Rick Reilly, are not his wife. He does not owe you an apology.

Get it? Got it? Awesome.

Now, I know you may feel like Tiger owes you something since you have all the answers for his troubles even if your colleagues don't necessarily think you do, but he doesn't actually owe you anything. Really, he doesn't. He doesn't owe you anything and he doesn't owe me or any other sports fan anything. At all.

In fact, unless you happen to be a Swedish woman named Elin Nordegren, or are one of Tiger's close relatives, he doesn't owe you any sort of apology at all. Not sure why, Rick? Ok. Let me break it down for you.

For the last 15 years Tiger has been playing golf at such an exceptional level that at one point you even called him a "God". He has provided you with hours of incredible entertainment -- and after all that is really what sports are in the end -- and you, in particular, have managed to get attention and money off of it by writing about him the entire time. Tiger has given you fodder from his teenage years when he was not yet the juggernaut he became and continued to do so throughout his early time on the tour and later as he crafted his remarkable career.

You gave us schmaltzy stories about how wonderful and exciting he is, gave us the not so difficult prediction that he was going to be amazing, told us how quirky and fun he was and on more than one occasion delivered your own account of his sentimental attachment to his father.

Yeah, Rick, you've gotten quite a bit of mileage out of Tiger, and as such, I offer you this advice, which is surely as unwanted as the advice you keep giving him, and that is shut up. The fact is this is purely a personal matter between one man and the wife he has betrayed, and you have almost made a career out of praising Tiger. You have no place to act holier than thou, and, if anything, you might owe Tiger for giving you something to write about. In some ways, Tiger Woods made you, and he is the reason you got to be popular enough to write about leukemia-ridden paraplegics who were trying to play ping pong every week.

Frankly, I think I may owe Tiger for the years of entertainment he has given all of us. He's not the first public figure we've admired and he's not the first one who has strayed. Any of us who feel like we have been personally slighted, need to get over ourselves, and you Mr. Reilly lead that pack.

Now, I will admit, Rick, somehow you have managed not to say the dumbest thing anyone has mentioned on the matter, but that doesn't mean you are any more right to take an expert point of view on what was probably the dullest, least remarkable press conference I have ever seen in my life. By the time Tiger was done apologizing this morning I just wanted those five minutes of my life back, or at the very least, had hoped something more interesting would be announced.



I was really hoping to spend today talking about two remarkable Olympic hockey games last night, with Canada getting by Switzerland in a shootout and Slovakia doing the same later in the evening against Russia. Or at the very least, I was going to wax poetic on the amusing and surprising fun that comes from following the twitterverse during Yevgeny Plyushchenko's long program in men's figure skating last night. But now, after watching Tiger say that his apology to his wife will take months and be defined through his actions -- and he's absolutely right -- all I can think about is how tired I am of hearing you ramble, Rick.

Don't get me wrong. Is Tiger Woods a hypocrite? Absolutely. But Rick, even if you've never cheated on your wife, it looks like you may very well have been cut from the same cloth.

1 comment:

  1. Well written piece David and I couldn't agree with you more. Again, nicely done!

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