Media should never lionize a Tiger

Over the past three months, we’ve been bombarded by the Tiger Woods fiasco. It’s not surprising, since it’s not everyday that the world’s most dominant athlete gets involved with a major sex scandal. Since everyone in the known world knows about this story, I won’t rehash any of it. What bugs me is the media’s response to the story, which also wasn’t surprising. I hate it when people get on their pedestals and talk about how shocked they are that Tiger did something like this and how he’s an embarrassment to all of us. Saying stuff like that is just stupid. Famous people sleep around. They will continue to sleep around, so it’s not that surprising that Tiger would do something like this.

But the one thing that draws my ire more than anything else is when people attack him for not being a good role model. Let me clarify, I have no problem with people looking at athletes and other famous people as role models. It’s natural that people, specifically kids, look up to them. What I have a problem with is that people don’t have a realistic expectation of what a good role model is. Tiger Woods is expected to be a 100 percent genuine human being, who has an infallible moral code and never does wrong by anyone or anything. I have news for these people, that person doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as the perfect role model.

That person has never existed. Tiger Woods is just the latest in a long line of celebrities, specifically athletes, who have dealt with personal problems and scandal. Most famous athletes have cheated on their wives, such as Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Mickey Mantle, Michael Jordan and many others.

They’ve dealt with personal problems as well. Mantle was an alcoholic who ended up sabotaging his own career because he couldn’t take care of himself. Michael Jordan allegedly had severe gambling problems. The bottom line is nobody’s perfect. Nobody’s immune from society’s ills. The same bad things can happen to anyone at any time, no matter who they are.

The reason this is hurting Woods more than some other famous people is because of today’s intense media cycle. We found out about the problems of some of the people listed above years after the fact, when their time in the limelight had faded. They didn’t have to deal with TMZ, or YouTube, or the 24-hour media cycle. No one is safe anymore. If they had to deal with today’s media scrutiny, maybe our opinions of them would be different. But since we didn’t know those things during their respective peaks, they were seen as infallible role models.

The moral of the story is that no one is flawless. All of the people who are considered role models are flawed people, just like us. If you want to look up to a person, you have to be realistic about who they really are. We have to be realistic in our expectations of others. Stop faking shock when people like Tiger Woods remind us of who they really are: imperfect human beings.