Tiger Woods Unpaved Road Ad

Tiger Woods Road High Performance Isn't Paved Accenture AdAlex Massie passes along “An unfortunately timed Accenture advertisement in the Wall Street Journal today that has also caught the attention of the folks at TMZ (who dub it “the definition of irony) and, I’m sure, others.

The juxtaposition of this and Woods’ car crash over the weekend is somewhat amusing, although I’m sure the gang at Accenture are laughing all the way to the bank.  This ad is pretty similar to a whole series of ads they’ve run featuring Woods going back to 2003 but this is the first one I’m paid any attention to.

On the subject of Woods, Conor Friedersdorf argues that, not only do athletes deserve to be treated as private individuals outside their sporting lives but, more importantly, sports fans would be much better served were that the case.

Every aficionado knows that sports are worth playing and watching as a simulacrum of life. Contriving various games with sets of rules, and leagues of competitors, we’re meant to enjoy the beauty of athletic prowess, to be awed by bodies that can do things ours can’t, to experience the suspense of live competition, the thrills of victory, and the lows of defeat—and to learn from the spectacle, all without the consequences of actual battle.

The effect is ruined when real life intrudes, even if only in the mind of the viewer, just as a movie is diminished when an actor’s real-life personality is as much a presence as the character he is playing, or a play suffers when a stagehand is heard sneezing behind the scenery during a climactic scene.

[…]

What I’d like is to hold athlete-entertainers to account as role models so long as they’re on the job. Should Tiger Woods back his golf cart into a lake during a celebrity skins tournament, by all means let’s investigate the story, lament the fall of another athlete who “seemed different than the others,” and recalibrate our opinion of the sportsman. The same goes for folks who dope in private to enhance their public performances. Realty demands that Mark McGwire is a fallen hero; his sins bear directly on his supposed heroics.

[…]

Except in the most extreme circumstances, athletes shouldn’t be treated as public figures when they are off the court, the field, or the course. It diminishes what they add to society, irrationally elevating their private lives in ways that do a disservice to them and to us.

That’s exactly right, I think.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor 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. Wayne says:

    I wonder if you have the same attitude to NFL players caught acting badly? Why wouldn’t some of your reasoning not apply to other famous people? Understandably politician were be an exception although they also deserve some privacy.




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  2. James Joyner says:

    I wonder if you have the same attitude to NFL players caught acting badly?

    Sure. The problem is that the “news” is reported and then contaminates our enjoyment of the sport. Many great athletes are, unfortunately, thugs and lowlifes. But we wouldn’t care about that aside from their athletic prowess.

    Why wouldn’t some of your reasoning not apply to other famous people?

    It does. I was never a big Woody Allen fan but I’m sure his private life has made it impossible for some to enjoy his movies. But if he weren’t making movies, nothing in his private life would be newsworthy.

    Neither Conor nor I are arguing that these people have some legal right to privacy, just that it’s a shame they’re not given it. They’re public figures, yes, but in limited arenas.




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  3. sam says:

    Neither Conor nor I are arguing that these people have some legal right to privacy, just that it’s a shame they’re not given it.

    Well, yeah. But I think the newsyness of this whole thing is that the incident is so fundamentally at odds with the very, very carefully crafted public image. As somebody else said, this ain’t Dennis Rodman we’re talking about.




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  4. Wayne Travers Jr. says:

    It’s going to be hard to see the fire hydrant in all that tall grass. Tiger should be careful.

    All humor aside, as a public relations professional I’d say he’s making the situation worse by staying silent (Web site posts don’t really count).




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  5. Davebo says:

    Except in the most extreme circumstances, athletes shouldn’t be treated as public figures when they are off the court, the field, or the course.

    If the fact that he earns over 90% of his income “off the course” doesn’t qualify as that exception what exactly would?




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  6. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Compartmentalization is good. We should have more of it. It’s shows that these are real, imperfect human beings just like all of us.. Let he who is without sin throw the first golf ball or goofball or whatever. Do you feel anything in your leg? Tingle or tug?




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  7. Wayne says:

    James sounds like we are in agreement. I just wanted to be clear that all should be treated with the same amount of scrutiny wither we like them or not.




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  8. Drew says:

    He ran over a public utility – a fire hydrant. Shouldn’t he, like you or I, be called to account?




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  9. Wayne says:

    Re. “Shouldn’t he, like you or I, be called to account?”

    Yes but no more or less than you or I. Problem is when the MSM gets envolved it can change it from in one way or another.




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  10. Drew says:

    wayne –

    All I am saying, perhaps inarticulately, is that a man ran down a fire hydrant with his motor vehicle. That warrants police inquiry. For me, a sad 4 handicap, or Tiger, a sparkling plus 5.

    As for celebrity, well, my libertarian instincts say let what shall be, be. They traffic in celebrity for money and privilege. It comes with attendant issues………..




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