IN OUR OPINION: Tiger apologizes for tarnished image

February 25, 2010

The phrase, “I’m sorry,” has been the cornerstone of conflict resolution for centuries and still is one of the smallest expressions with one of the greatest impacts.

The phrase is the difference between a breakup or make up, peace and war, beginnings and endings.

To the American media, an apology can be what saves someone from public persecution and the savior of a life and a career.
Public celebrity apologies, genuine or not, regardless of what else is going on in the media, usually end up being the center of attention.

More often than not, the media and other American spectators find pleasure in putting a public figure under open scrutiny and then watching them in a vulnerable position, only to criticize any actions, remorseful or not, following the initial transgression.

Recently, professional golfer Tiger Woods gave a 10-minute apology following months of silence for multiple infidelities during his marriage.

Woods’ speech was given at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., where it was very controlled and was given in front of a few handpicked media personnel and close family and friends. Even though a selected group of media was present, they were not allowed to ask the golf star any questions following his speech.

Before Woods even gave his speech, many felt it was too little too late to apologize for something that happened months prior, and following the speech some felt it was insincere and too controlled.

People do not generally apologize for the things they do until the infraction is discovered and probably would not have made an apology otherwise.

The question that is at hand is, when do public figures necessarily owe us, the public, an apology?

Tiger Woods, undoubtedly, is a public figure who has managed to maintain his “good guy” image. Once he showed America a side of him that was least expected, it seems like the media felt a sense of entitlement to his private life and family.

We believe that some issues should be left between the individuals the transgression was against. Under certain circumstances we are not owed an apology, and our opinions should not be meant to manipulate the lifestyles of everyone.

Sometimes “I’m sorry” should only address those who ought to have it, and we do not always deserve it.