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In Tiger's Defense

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It may seem crazy to come out in defense of Tiger Woods while he apologizes shame-faced to his wife, family, friends, the world of golf and the world in general. But it's time to end the hypocritical hype heaped upon every famous individual who falls from grace for being human.

What Tiger did to his wife and family is wrong, shameful and embarrassing. However, condemning Tiger for his philandering isn't the duty of the public, the golf profession or even his wife. In case you're feeling a holier-than-thou moment coming on, I suggest you open your own closet and take a good look around. Then apologize to us all while we rip you to shreds for your insincerity and the skeletons we resurrect.

Tiger's affairs are hurtful to those who placed trust in him. That's a burden he and they will bear. Those are relationships he will seek to repair. And when the weight of the good and bad this man has contributed to the lives of those around him is weighed without the public piling on, my guess is he will be forgiven ... for being human.

And Tiger deserves forgiveness.

Tiger's wife deserves something too: clarity and honesty. Well, here it is: Elin married a celebrity.

That doesn't give Tiger authority or excuse to trample on his marriage vows. But understanding what it means to marry a man with such a tremendous burden will perhaps open the eyes of women whose eyes close as they swoon over larger-than-life athletes, musicians, entertainers, politicians and even religious leaders. Those wives don't get to divorce themselves from the reality of their decisions to marry celebrities. They too share in the burden that comes with fame and fortune. The entire family experiences both the benefits and difficulties of fame.

Tiger's public humiliation is symbolic of that burden. He isn't allowed a misstep without knocking over a million dominoes set up all around him. And I'm not pretending his affairs weren't far more than a single incident. The point is Tiger cannot give in to temptation. He must play the game of life as supremely as he plays the game of golf.

We watch Tiger on the golf course, expecting him to win every tournament. He can't win every time. But we expect him to. We watch Tiger bask in the warmth of our idol-worship, then walk away from the spotlight and ignore the bevy of beauties that trip over themselves to flaunt in his face. He can't ignore them every time. But we expect him to.

So, let's get a clear perspective on this issue. Tiger is a phenomenal golf player, not a god. He ought not be worshiped, though he is. He's a phenomenal pitch man and once had an incredible squeaky clean image for companies that wanted to invest millions in branding him as their own. All investors understand the risk of investments, whether in the stock market or in professional athletes. Tiger delivered phenomenal returns on investments to those companies and he elevated the sport of golf to a pedestal so high we've forgotten its former reputation of being a haven for White racists (Oops, another closet with skeletons).

I say lay off of Tiger. He's just a nice quiet guy who was rewarded with a global playpen because of his skill in dispelling age-old myths that opened up the game of golf to fans who have never played it.

I'm not sure what everyone expected of him ... or any other guy who can have anything, anytime, anywhere for any price.

Take away the limitations that help the rest of us remain within our moral boundaries each day and what might we do when no one is looking? The rules we adopt from our religious faiths may be ascribed to him, and he may have adopted similar ones of his own, but try living according to those rules when anything you want is instantly yours. The rules may not change, but it's understandable that Tiger, at times, felt like he could do anything and the rules didn't apply to him.

The problem isn't Tiger. It's you. It's me. It's us.

Ask any entrepreneur about the changes that occur in the company leaders when a ton of money is tossed into the pot. Ask any contestant on any so-called reality show what they will do for money. Walk onto the floor of the stock exchange and take a look around. Money has tremendous influence on perspective. We ought to know that.

Check out the industries of influence and see how they attract our attention: fashion, music, television, Hollywood, media. Sex sells. Sin is in. And it's all being used to get the almighty dollar.

We love money. We love sex. And typically, where there's money, there's sex. And sex is often used to attract money, which is then used to enjoy the pleasures of sexual fantasies fueled by our culture and the subcultures that we like to pretend don't exist.

Don't get mad at me for telling the truth. Do your own research. You won't find any in this article. You know what's likely to pop up if you Google anything related to sex.

I'm just exposing the emperor and pointing to the naked elephant in the room.

Tiger is human. And if we take nothing else away from his dive off the highest celebrity cliff on the course, we should at least understand that every man who achieves great heights will be bombarded with temptation constantly. His fantasies will be offered to him. He won't have to seek out opportunity; it will pound on the door until he answers.

Now ask yourself this question: If tomorrow your life changed dramatically and you could have anything you wanted without restrictions, how would that change the way you live?

When a home is built upon the foundation of fame and fortune, temptation waltzes in and starts decorating according to the fantasies of the occupant. Try living with that on a daily basis without stumbling.

It can't be done standing up.

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