Tiger Woods, it was widely reported, became he first-ever sports celebrity billionaire. He reached that lofty height on his golfing skill, sure, but more on the celebrity from those golfing skills.
People tuned-in to events he played; they bought all the things he pitched; they cheered as his pristinely clean profile became ever-brighter.
The public invested in him.
Now, people are saying he deserves his privacy? That he doesn’t have to explain the weird event that took place outside his house at 2.35 last Friday morning? Give me a break.
While his celebrity made him rich, it also made him public property and while he isn’t accountable to us (just as John Daley has never been accountable to us) the public has ever right to try to get to the bottom of what happened.
Every right and more. Because this isn’t just an event. It’s a process.
Woods is notoriously private and stupendously wealthy, meaning he can buy whatever privacy he wants. And the expertise to assure that privacy. So what happened here? That’s what makes this so fascinating. Whatever happened it has not been handled well by Woods and whatever high-priced help he needed.
With the absence of a coherent explanation, we are left with a few facts and a lot of imagination. The story is no longer about Tiger Woods but of yet another coddled celebrity trying to cover up probable human failings.
In the end it means nothing to us. But we deserve to know what happened as a quid pro quo for our investment in his life.
The public knows how to worship and it knows how to forgive. It has just never liked being manipulated and lied to.