Leave Tiger Woods Alone

Tiger Woods WifeResponding to reports that the Florida Highway Patrol is seeking a warrant to seize medical records to investigate Tiger Woods’ car crash to determine whether  “determine if the wounds Woods sustained are consistent with a car accident or domestic violence”, Tom Maguire snarks, “what kind of a world are we living in if the world’s most famous athlete can’t quash an investigation into a domestic violence incident where he is the apparent victim?”

But, as with the possibility of criminal charges against the White House party crashers, what’s the point?

Woods didn’t cause any injuries.  He wasn’t speeding.  He wasn’t intoxicated.  If he damaged the fire hydrant he hit or caused private property damage, I’m sure he’s good for reimbursement.  If police want to cite him for reckless driving, the medical records are unlikely to be relevant.

We’ve decided in recent years that domestic violence is no longer a personal crime wherein the victim can simply refuse to press charges, on the not unreasonable theory that the victims are afraid of the repercussions of turning in a spouse.  But, surely, that’s not a consideration in this case?

This isn’t to say that we can’t be curious about the incident; certainly, I am.  And Woods is a public figure, so his expectation of privacy is diminished.  But pursuing this seems a silly waste of police resources.

In related news, Mike Tomasky praises Tiger’s grammar and wonders what the fact that an Escalade’s windows are vulnerable to supermodels with golf clubs will do for GM’s revival.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Popular Culture, Sports, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Triumph says:

    Given the fact that he is a huge Obama supporter, the whole episode is funny.

    What it should show us is that golf is not a real sport. Any so-called “athlete” who can get whipped by a broad is a pathetic wimp.

    He is the perfect poster-boy for Obama’s America–a spoiled liberal victim who gets pushed around by Europeans.

  2. The Florida Masochist says:

    what the fact that an Escalade’s windows are vulnerable to supermodels with golf clubs will do for GM’s revival.

    Just further proof they don’t make cars like they used to.

    Golf writers and bloggers have been going beserk over this accident story for 3 days. It’s bringing new meaning to ‘Silly season’ the term used for the period in November and December when professional golf is in hibernation before the new year starts.

    Silly I think understates the condition of what’s being reported and written out there on the Woods story. A few rumors(that are later proving to be untrue) are being horrendously twisted and whatever reputation golf writing and blogging have is being mangled in the process also. I blogged twice on the accident, once to report, the second time to note how wrong the reporting has been to date. I haven’t speculated one bit about what happened the other night. There aren’t too many writers who follow Woods and Pro golf that have shown similar restraint.

  3. Herb says:

    True story:

    Last year I threw some trash in a Dumpster that was not mine. The manager of the apartment complex took down my license plate number and called the cops on me. When they came to my door, I didn’t answer it. It wasn’t convenient for me at that moment to talk to the cops. Besides, I thought, what are they gonna do? Bust me for throwing trash in a Dumpster?

    Little did I know that YES, that’s exactly what they intended. They towed my truck from my driveway and cited me for theft.

    Theft! And in case you think this is a gross injustice, I did too. Thankfully the prosecutor agreed with me, then promptly dropped the theft charge and replaced it with the more appropriate charge of “unlawful dumping.” (He even waived all fines, since I had to drop $150 to get my truck out of impound.)

    My point? If I were a professional golfer, things might have shaken out differently.

    To review: If you’re a dumbass named Herb who refuses to talk to the cops about throwing trash in the wrong Dumpster…truck towed, charged with a crime.

    If you’re a professional golfer named Tiger who crashes his car into a fire hydrant, then a tree, then needs an ambulance…you can talk to the cops…oh, whenever is good for you.

  4. David G. says:

    Tiger Woods makes a huge amount of money because of his celebrity status and his public following. Sorry – loss of privacy goes with that turf.

    If he wishes privacy, anonymity and a relatively un-affluent lifestyle like most of us enjoy, he needs to give up his endorsements and celebrity. It is also fair to say that if most of us refused to meet with the police after such an incident, that we’d probably find a battering ram and SWAT team on our doorstep.

  5. James Joyner says:

    They towed my truck from my driveway and cited me for theft.

    On what grounds did they tow your truck from your private property?!

    Tiger Woods makes a huge amount of money because of his celebrity status and his public following. Sorry – loss of privacy goes with that turf.

    I say that in the post. That doesn’t mean the police ought be wasting its resources investigating a non-crime.

    It is also fair to say that if most of us refused to meet with the police after such an incident, that we’d probably find a battering ram and SWAT team on our doorstep.

    No, we wouldn’t. He’s under zero obligation to talk with police.

  6. Ugh says:

    why you should never talk to the police.

  7. Herb says:

    On what grounds did they tow your truck from your private property?!

    The grounds: It was “used in the commission of a crime.” That’s why they charged me with theft and not unlawful dumping. Theft is a crime, and they have the authority to tow vehicles suspected to be used in a theft.

    Unlawful dumping is a code violation, and it comes with no such authority.

    But the reason (I believe) that they did this is they were pissed that I refused to answer the door. This was their way of saying, “Oh yeah? Well, I’ll show him.”

  8. JVB says:

    I love how Woods being a rich liberal gets lost in all the malarky. I didn’t think liberals were supposed to embrace capitalism or free enterprise, or at the very least be at such war with it that they offer to donate all but $200,000 of their income annually to reduce the deficit. Any way…I kind of see why the media and law enforcement are all over this. I mean it’s not like there’s anything BIGGER in the world right now to tackle. They need to work…this is obviously job security for them.

  9. Steve Verdon says:

    But, surely, that’s not a consideration in this case?

    Phil Hartman.

    Herb,

    See Ugh’s response. I’d still advise you to never talk t the cops without a lawyer present.

    James,

    On what grounds did they tow your truck from your private property?!

    You’re kidding right? They are cops they can do what they like. You need to read Balko’s blog more. :p

    As for the actual towing, first guess would be contempt of cop–not opening the door.

    No, we wouldn’t. He’s under zero obligation to talk with police.

    You really need to read more of Balko’s blog. Granted it isn’t likely, but I’d say it is a possibility. SWAT teams are often sent in on the flimsiest of pretexts, and why not. What is the downside? Prosecution? Nope. Lawsuits? The city and tax payers pay that. Getting fired, reprimanded, ruined career? More likely medals, promotion or both.

    The grounds: It was “used in the commission of a crime.” That’s why they charged me with theft and not unlawful dumping. Theft is a crime, and they have the authority to tow vehicles suspected to be used in a theft.

    Unlawful dumping is a code violation, and it comes with no such authority.

    See, they are cops, they make stuff up, and do what they like, especially if you piss them off.

  10. But, as with the possibility of criminal charges against the White House party crashers, what’s the point?

    I’d think this would have to be prosecuted just to set the bar, that any such future attempt (reality or terrorist) would be also.

    I have nothing in particular against this couple(*), but that’s the way I’d expect the world to work.

    * – except as an unfortunate continuation of the balloon boy narrative.

  11. Franklin says:

    I love how Woods being a rich liberal gets lost in all the malarky.

    OK, I’ll bite. Not only can I not figure out what this has do with ANYTHING, I haven’t seen any evidence that he’s a liberal or has even given a thought to politics.

  12. Ugh says:

    Franklin – he did give a speech as part of the festivities leading up to Obama’s nomination, not that that makes him a liberal, of course.

  13. Herb says:

    See, they are cops, they make stuff up, and do what they like, especially if you piss them off.

    This is no doubt true, as I can tell you from personal experience, but it’s also true that the police treat the rich and famous much differently than they do the not-so-rich and not-so-famous, which was my original point.

    I suspect if I had fans, endorsement deals, and a few PGA tournaments under my belt, the cops would have thought twice about trying to screw me over.

    They might have even asked nicely if they could come back later…

  14. sam says:

    Well, you see Franklin, you don’t understand the rules of journalism as JVB thinks they need to be understood. According his understanding, every news story about the travails of almost any famous person, especially if that person is in the entertainment biz, should begin:

    So-and-so, well-known political liberal, yesterday found him- (or her-) self in a pickle. So-and-so’s well-known political liberalism is thought to be a significant contibuting factor to the pickle.

    That’s how you report the news.

  15. jabberwock says:

    WGAF? If it had been me, it would have been no more anyone’s business what precipitated the accident as long as no laws were broken. Get a Life everyone!

  16. Drew says:

    “To review: If you’re a dumbass named Herb..”

    You said it all, dude.

    Sorry, man. Couldn’t resist the wide open 5 hole on the net. I’m just kidding.

    ……………

    Meanwhile……..I haven’t seen a coherent argument on what seems to me to be the fundamental argument: does the incident, because it involves public property like a fire hydrant or tree, require Woods to talk to police? If so, he’s in violation of the law. If not, this is just a PR meltdown.

    Both stinky. But of different ilks.

  17. Herb says:

    “Sorry, man. Couldn’t resist the wide open 5 hole on the net.”

    Ha! Yeah, well, I call it like I see it…in the mirror.

    But I think you’re onto something.

    I keep thinking about the Hennes (lotta dumbasses here in CO) and their violation of the law. They told law enforcement that one thing was going on…while another thing entirely was going on.

    I think Tiger’s story stinks, and his evasion just fans the fumes. I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if Mrs. Woods is busted for domestic violence and the both of them are charged with false reporting.

  18. anjin-san says:

    Does anyone really give a shit about this? Cause if you do, there is a big neon sign above your head that says “Get a life”.

  19. Franklin says:

    Franklin – he did give a speech as part of the festivities leading up to Obama’s nomination, not that that makes him a liberal, of course.

    OK, but it looks like that speech honored our military, not Obama. I believe Tiger’s dad served in Vietnam and that’s where he met Tiger’s mom.

    JVB – Count me as somebody who doesn’t need to pay attention to your opinion anymore.

  20. Wayne says:

    Re “He wasn’t intoxicated”

    He admitted he was on pain killers. How much who knows but being on strong pain killers and driving is just as dangerous as drinking alcohol. Also I don’t believe he was given a breathalyzer.

    If this was Rush instead of Tiger, many would treat it as a major scandal. It wouldn’t be what happen but what could have happen if he made it out of his drive way. That said I go by what happened not what could have, so I will give Woods a break.

  21. Boyd says:

    Man, I can’t believe all you folks are missing the most important aspect of this post.

    This is still the Internet, right? Where we nitpick everything to death?

    So how come all of you missed the error in Tomasky’s piece about Tiger’s excellent grammar?

    Here’s the first sentence from the second paragraph in Tiger’s statement:

    The only person responsible for the accident is me.

    While it certainly sounds better than using proper grammar, any idiot of a grammarian knows that the proper construct of that sentence should be:

    The only person responsible for the accident is I.

    C’mon, people! We need to make sure we don’t let errors like this spread around the Intarw3bz without being caught and snarked-about incessantly!