Friday, November 27, 2009

Tiger, Say It Ain't So!

As I was perusing the Internet this afternoon, I came across the following story about Tiger Woods. From all the reports I am hearing and seeing, Tiger was in a one car accident early this morning in front of his own home. Obviously, being a fan, I was pleased to hear that despite some facial lacerations, Tiger is OK and has been released from the hospital.

What has yet to be understood, however, is what caused the accident. As of now, the police are saying that alcohol was not a factor, and hopefully that is true, but the circumstances are certainly peculiar and suspicious.

I tend to believe strongly in treating people as innocent until proven guilty, so would not like to infer that Tiger was driving under the influence, but the mere suspicion of it leads me to a different topic. Why do wealthy athletes and celebrities drive at all?

I certainly understand the physical desire to drive, especially once you have earned enough cash to buy the kinds of vehicles you would want to take out for a spin, Tiger's Cadillac Escalade not among them for me, by the way. To satisfy that urge, take a road trip if you must, or even an afternoon gallop across the countryside. Running errands, however, could certainly be left to someone else, and late night excursions to...well, anywhere, should definitely be left to a hired driver.

Over the last several years, many athletes have been arrested and/or charged with DUI including: Warren Moon, Kareem McKenzie, Jason Shirley, Matthew McCoy, Marcus Vick, Lawyer Milloy, Brandon Marshall, Karl Paymah, Jimmy Smith, Mark Bell, Lofa Tatupu, Jerramy Stevens, Carmelo Anthony, Jevon Kearse, Richard Collier, Cedric Benson, Dwayne Jarrett, David Legwand, Odell Thurman, John LeClair, and of course the more infamous cases resulting in the additional manslaughter convictions of both Leonard Little and Donte Stallworth.

Nobody...NOBODY should ever drive when they are consuming alcohol, but millions do anyway. Certainly civilian arrests for DUI/DWI (measuring in the hundreds of thousands) far outweigh those of famous athletes and celebrities combined. In no way should being wealthy translate to being held to a higher standard of conduct than those less fortunate. Being famous, however, like it or not, does translate to greater publicity of a mistake. Additionally, the fact that you can afford a Bentley (that, by the way, is the car that Stallworth was driving when he struck and killed Mario Reyes earlier this year) means that you can afford a driver to handle those duties. It's more than your legal responsibility, it's common sense.

So, I bring it up today because of the strange circumstances surrounding Tiger Woods' early morning accident. I truly hope that there is a different explanation for what occurred down in posh Windermere, FL, because Tiger is one of those celebrities for whom I have developed a genuine respect. Though the reasons I respect him would still be valid, knowing that Tiger would knowingly drive under the influence of alcohol rather than hire a ride (hell, he could summon a helicopter) definitely would impact the appreciation I have for him as a person beyond his talents on the course. Until we know for certain what happened this morning on the Woods' front lawn, however, we must simply be thankful that something worse did not happen, and we will be able to continue to admire the way this man completely and utterly dominates the sport of golf.

Fairways and Greens!

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