I originally wrote this for xoJane, but they didn't want it. I totally see why; it lacks a strong opinion, but these are still things I wonder about, so I'll post it here instead.
One of the biggest sports stories on Sunday was Tiger Woods’ collapse in the final-round of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He started the day in 3rd place and, despite once being known as the king of Sunday, ended it in 15th. It’s been 29 months since Woods’ last PGA Tour win, but the theory on Sunday was, if he can just win this tournament, the scandal will finally be behind him.
I can’t imagine you haven’t heard all about the scandal, but in short, Tiger Woods cheated on his wife with numerous women. When he was finally busted, he crashed he car into a tree, took a break from golf, lost numerous sponsorships, and ultimately, got a divorce. And now he’s trying to stage a comeback and get the world to love him again. Which might be a difficult task considering he's currently ranked #2 on Forbe's "America's Most Disliked Athletes" List. (Right after Michael Vick, many of you will be elated to learn.)
Don’t worry. I’m not going to defend Tiger’s actions. Well, maybe a little bit in that I feel like there aren’t very many men with that much money and that much power who *don’t* cheat, but still: His wife had every right to believe that he was going to take his wedding vows seriously and now Tiger has every right to be treated by his fans like he’s the liar and cheat that is/was/whatever.
But that’s the thing that is interesting about celebrities. While it seems like there’s a part of us that enjoys it when they fail (based on the fact that it becomes front page “news” when they do), I also think (hope?) there is just as big of part of us that wants/enjoys when they rise from their own ashes and stage a comeback.
Clearly this is not so cut and dry, as we saw when I wrote about Michael Vick having served his time and therefore (in my opinion) having every right to hold down a job in the NFL. However, with Tiger Woods (and countless politicians, actors, musicians etc.), his transgression was not a legal one, but rather a moral one. Which makes me wonder...
How long do people deserve to be punished when they fail on a human level? Do our opinions of whether or not they are given a second chance depend on their celebrity? What are the factors that make forgiveness more difficult? (In the instance of infidelity, I suspect a few of them are: children, a wife’s illness, religion etc., but there are likely more.)
Would we (do we) hold our loved ones to the same standards we do celebrities? If infidelity is occuring because of a sex addiction, why do we judge that person more harshly than we do someone with a drug addiction? Why are we so quick to judge some people, but feel others deserve chance after chance after chance?
I don’t have the answers, but as I watched Tiger fail to do the one thing he did often and well before his downfall -- win -- I couldn’t help but wonder what’s keeping him from making his comeback. Is it because we don’t believe in him anymore? Or because he doesn’t believe in himself?