February 18th, 2010
11:27 PM ET

What should Tiger say?

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Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D.
Special to AC360°

Tiger Woods announced yesterday that he will issue an apology at the TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on Friday at 11 a.m. ET. All we know is that the apology will last around five minutes and that he will not respond to any questions from the media. Ever since the announcement, the blogosphere has been obsessed with whether we have a right to know what happened since Woods drove his SUV into a tree last November, took a leave of absence from professional golf, and apparently checked into a rehabilitation facility that treats sexual addiction.

Does the public have a right to know how Woods conducts his private life?

It doesn’t matter, and I’ll tell you why. Whether or not we are entitled to know about the demons that plague Woods, the best golfer in the world should use his worldwide platform to be a force for good and help others who are wrestling with the same problems he is.

In other words, Tiger Woods should have an open and honest discussion with the media tomorrow, even if the public does not have a right to this information.

Here’s why.

Celebrities like Woods, whose every move is scrutinized by millions of people, have an opportunity that the rest of us never will—to speak to an attentive, international audience. Athletes, R&B artists, and movie stars may not think of themselves as role models, but rightly or wrongly, a lot of folks do regard them this way. Adoring fans take the words and actions of their idols to heart.

Consider how Andre Agassi’s recent confession, Open, about his struggles as a crystal meth addict, have encouraged other addicts to seek help. Even Sarah Palin’s minions have to admire how Katie Couric used a personal tragedy—the loss of her husband to colon cancer—and her position as a Today Show anchor to educate the public about the value of colonoscopies. One can only imagine how many lives she saved by doing this. And countless readers of Ozzy Osbourne’s new memoir, I Am Ozzy, will say to themselves, “Hey, Ozzy cleaned himself up; I can too.”

Tomorrow morning, much of the world will be listening to what Tiger Woods has to say about his terrible troubles and how he has damaged not just himself but many of the people he cares about. Woods can use this global stage to speak from the heart and explain how he has been working to turn things around. In so doing, he would inspire fans in every corner to make a positive change in their lives.

Or Woods can do what too many in his position do: say a few meaningless words and be done with it.

The choice is up to him. I hope he makes the right choice.

Editor's Note: Bruce Weinstein, Ph.D. is the public speaker and author known as The Ethics Guy. He is the Ethics columnist for BusinessWeek online. His latest book, 'Is It Still Cheating If I Don’t Get Caught?' (Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press, 2009), shows tweens and teens how to make ethical decisions—and why they should care. For more, visit The Ethics Guy.com.

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Sandra Masada

    He should not say anything because I'm no longer interested in his personal business. If he apologizes, it will only be because he's full of greed. He's a self-indulgent jerk who bores me to no end.

    February 18, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  2. Aisha

    Tiger does not owe the public an explanation. Tomorrow's press conference should go as follows: "I've disrespected my family and embarrassed the golfing community. I apologize. Thank you." The circumstances are very unfortunate but his personal life is none of my business and I am indifferent to his remarks.

    February 18, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  3. Paulette

    why does he have to say anything about his affair?I'm not married to him, I'm not his Mother. People these days feel they have to know everything about someones life. He's a golfer, I care about his golf game, not his personal life.Maybe that's just me.? I have my own life to worry about.

    February 18, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  4. JayBee

    There is nothin 2 say. His life is partially ruined n no media event will fix that. Redemption lies within his family circle. Butt out world.

    February 18, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  5. auzie

    Im sory

    February 18, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
  6. TH

    I. DON'T. CARE.

    February 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  7. BettyAnn, Nacogdoches,TX

    Nothing. Tiger should say nothing. Tis better for him to keep his mouth shut and appear dumb under these circumstances than to open it and remove all doubt.

    February 18, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  8. Murray Schellenberg Winnipeg

    Tiger Woods should say to the world," This is my life and I have problems just like any other human being,this does not make me a bad person but a person who has made mistakes and will make mistakes again.Just because I have worked hard to be a top golfer and have media around my life is not an excuse for them to curcifive my lively hood. I have made mistakes and need to repair my life personally without the interferrence of the media. I will continue to play the game I love with or without sponsers. I'm back and be ready for me.

    February 18, 2010 at 8:35 pm |