Tiger and Zirin

Dave Zirin

So Tiger fessed up.The stonewalling did not work and he cut his losses whining with some justification that personal stuff should be off limits.Fair enough. Leave the guy alone in his gated community.

Woods is simply a privileged athlete, probably the greatest golfer ever. So what. He has never added much to the public good–a few safe chariiies. Fine. But like Gretzky, totally out of it as a public citizen. Gretzky famously supported Bush in Iraq. He is an American and makes his money there but pretty  much of a zero in using his celebrity for the betterment of society. A great ex-hockey player.

Now the Tiger just ended  a feeding frenzy.Well we could say what the hell was he thinking, letting the bimbos trap him on email and phones. Worse cheating on the mother of his kids.The BS story he floated was a crock from the start but a nonstory as the US moves again into Big Muddy and the planet is burning down. Tiger and Wayne would not be jetting outside their comfortable bubbles to Copenhagen

The first billionaire athlete always courted the squeaky clean image and he got caught. Maybe he’ll lose a few endorsements but he never needs to work again anyway. So forgive this “indiscretion.” I hope he works it out.

Leave it to the one sportswriter worth reading Dave Zirin to zero in on Woods the greedy, over-privilegecd athlete, a guy with no political awareness  much less a social conscience.

Zirin pointed out that Tiger would not attend  his  Chevron World Challenge Golf Tournament. In 2008, Chevron, according to Zirin, entered a five-year relationship with Woods’ foundation under the guise of philanthropy.

“But if Woods had a shred of social conscience, this partnership would never have existed. Lawsuits have been issued against Chevron for dumping toxic waste all over the planet. Alaska, Canada, Brazil, Angola and California have all accused Chevron of dumping. Even worse, Chevron has a partnership with Burma’s ruling military junta on the country’s Yadana gas pipeline project, the single greatest source of revenue for the military, estimated at nearly $5 billion since the year 2000.”

That type of reporting is why Zirin is the best. He might have added that the worst  Secretary of State in US living memory Condoloeeza Rice had a Chevron tanker named after her for similar corporate enablement.Rice like Woods did zip for the black community when she had the chance.Her  folks groomed her for success  but not to make a diference

Ka Hsaw Wa, co-founder and executive director of EarthRights International, wrote in an open letter to Woods, “I myself have spoken to victims of forced labor, rape, and torture on Chevron’s pipeline–if you heard what they said to me, you too would understand how their tragic stories stand in stark contrast to Chevron’s rhetoric about helping communities.” Chevron is underwriting a dictatorship but Tiger Woods apparently sees them as upstanding corporate partners.

Then there’s the Dubai golf course, the Tiger Woods Golf Course, $100  million to build in a country built on slave labour .Pure excess and greed gone wild.But Tiger ensconced in his own gated Nirvana says little.

Zirin has it right

“They are desperate to pillory the man for his personal problems. It would be more appropriate if they took this opportunity to scrutinize him for the right reasons. Woods has every right to keep his personal problems personal. But when he makes deals that benefit dictatorships and unaccountable corporations, all in the name of his billion-dollar brand, he deserves no privacy.”

Why are there so few sports writers like Zirin?

The answer is obvious: People need their illusions and their sports hero to take their minds off the real issues and Tiger like many is only too happy to oblige. And sports writers happy to pump them up.

One more depressing thought: Sarah Palin’s book has sold a million copies.

As Chris Hedges would say: The triumph of Spectacle and illusion.


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