Debating the Rating of Tiger's "Public" Apology

John Kador, an author, consultant and expert on "effective apologies", published the following assessment of Tiger's apology:
Tiger Woods has carefully fashioned his brand as a squeaky-clean athlete to become the most compensated figure in this history of sports. That brand is being dismantled before our eyes. Woods desires privacy beut he fails to acknowlege that he is accountable to the public, the source of all that wealth and privilege, just as much as his family and friends. His failure to acknowledge this truth will lead to a sream of media revelations that he cannot control and must react to. The first symptom of hiding: one's world is diminished. TIger Woods has announced he will not participate in a charity golfing event hat bears his name. Tiger's goal of getting the media attention behind him would be better served if he took charge of the revellations. Say it first, say it straight, say it all.
We at PA respectfully disagree with John's assessment and have decided to post the following email exchange on the subject.


Date: December 3, 2009
From: Peter F. Goolpacy

Dear John,

Great website and Blog -- we look forward to reading your book. But we think your expectations (if not demands) regarding Woods' "public" apology miss the mark. Not sure why any of us (including us apology 'experts') deserve any more.

Peter F. Goolpacy


Date: December 4, 2009
From John Kador

Thanks for reaching out about the Tiger Woods apology.

I always welcome a dialogue with you to help clarify the issues.

I think the only place where we differ is that I believe Tiger Woods is accountable to the public for a certain set of transgressions. These acts are quite distinct from the acts for which he needs to personally apologize and for which he is entitled to privacy. Tiger Woods is perhaps the world's wealthiest and most privileged athlete. From where does that wealth and privilege derive? From his talent, no doubt, but also from a compact he has made with his sponsors and the public. It has been a carefully cultivated compact that goes way beyond his performance on the golf course and from which he continues to draw resources. He is, in every respect, a leader and has offered himself as such. It now appears that the leader regrets transgressions (his word). Until he is clear with himself, his family, and the public, each according to what he owes, as to the exact nature of these transgressions, no one can know that Tiger Woods has rededicated himself to the values he regrets violating.

On a more practical level, I argue that if Woods wants to put this matter behind him, he is going about it the wrong way. The media will let it go only when he does. As long as he's offering resistance, the media will eat it up because the media loves conflict. As soon as Tiger lets go of the need to control, the media will be on to the next thing because there's no conflict anymore.

I'll post this exchange on my blog. I think it gives readers two points of view to consider. Feel free to comment here directly on the blog. I'll send you a link later today when I get to it.


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Date: December 4, 2009
From Peter F. Goolpacy


Interesting points, but we still think you're missing the big picture here. Tiger owes the public and his fans a "public" apology -- which is precisely what he delivered. What he did not give them were the specific details of what happened -- which he does not owe the public or his fans, despite how addicted they (and the media) might be to getting these details. The media is not demanding these details because this level of honesty is good for Tiger. They are demanding the details because it is good for their business. Moreover, Tiger is wealthy because he is an incredibly gifted athlete. The public gets from Tiger what they pay to see; the media makes a huge profit when Tiger is on their station or in their papers; and large corporations make billions off Tiger's image and endorsements BECAUSE he is a gifted athlete. Everyone gets something. To claim that Tiger somehow OWES these people a more detailed apology than the one he has already offered, when they themselves have profited enormously from Tiger's talent, is a bit of a stretch. What the public deserves is the apology they received -- nothing more. Now, with respect to Tiger's family and his "private" apologies, THEY (and they alone) will demand and certainly deserve a more detailed apology, not us. Most big mistakes require more than one Perfect Apology.