Jewish World Review July 26, 2002/ 17 Menachem-Av, 5762

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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Consumer Reports

Don't do it, Tiger | Power corrupts, but sports corrupt absolutely. Professional athletes offer relentless "you know's," the connectors for their sentence fragments. Their only correct grammar and syntax are on their tattoos.

Mike Tyson is walking, mumbling, ear-biting evidence of the destructive power of professional sports. Its tentacles stretch into the neighborhood basketball courts, seizing the minds, hearts, and reason of the youth of America so that they aspire to Allen Iverson heights, or perhaps beyond his 14 felony counts.

Still, some sports figures shine. Lance Armstrong's triumph over cancer and those French and Italian racers with his bicycle brings cheer to the soul. NFL Phoenix Cardinal Pat Tillman gave up a $3.6 million contract for $18,000 per year and the chance to be an Army Ranger. Enter Tiger Woods.

Tiger won a place in my book of class acts when he declined to meet with President Clinton during the U.S. Open. Not one to be star-struck, particularly by Oval Office knaves, Tiger and his father just said no to the man who taught us of the confusion surrounding "is."

This past week has earned Tiger a place in my world record book. Despite daily pressure from a media determined to flog newsmakers into submission, Mr. Woods resisted the temptation to become one of those buffoon celebrities who spouts off about social issues. Alec Baldwin, Barbra Streisand, Rosie, Susan Sarandon, Martin Sheen and the now completely daft Woody Harrelson have injected themselves into politics, social issues and even the leadership of the Democratic party b

y pontificating from their learned perches in the Screen Actors Guild. Jessica Lange testified before Congress on farmers' plights because, logically, she played a farmer's wife in Country. Meryl Streep testified for the children of America on Alar and apples because she made a choice as Sophie? Died as Karen Silkwood? Or was it because she was the French lieutenant's woman? Martin Sheen is Hollywood's scholar in residence on the homeless because, well, he played John Kennedy once. Democrats take their marching orders from Barbra Streisand on what people who need people need.

Tiger Woods has been hounded by the media for his failure to use his prominence to lecture on social issues. Media types demand celebrity social conscience despite no track record for celebrities changing the world, unless you count what Britney Spears has done to move women 's pants from their waists to the upper thighs.

Tiger Woods knows a sand trap even off the course. He resisted temptation when he was asked why he was playing a major U.S. championship at an all-male course. He ignored their entreaties to become the Gandhi of Titleist and Ping.

The international media have been flogging Mr. Woods for playing in the British Open at Murfield (The Honorable Company of Edinburgh Golfers), a club that excludes women from its clubhouse. Bully for them. Women should be grateful. The only thing worse than golfing with men is sitting around with them as they recall and relive their games with a blood alcohol level of .08.

Founded in 1774, Murfield relaxed its males-only rules during the Open, but, not satisfied, the media dogged Mr. Woods until he responded, "They're entitled to set up their own rules the way they want them." Sacre bleu! What kind of man is this?

USA Today wrote that Woods "seemed unprepared for the questions." The man is there to play golf, not serve as emissary in the gender wars. Mr. Woods' foundation for disadvantaged children is his quiet social work. He wisely avoids boycotts and dictatorial positions that smack of arrogance.

The media types then played the race card. That Mr. Woods will perhaps be the greatest golfer in the history of mankind, and at clubs other than Murfield, womankind, leaves the media hollow. They want social activism, not just below-par scores. They asked Mr. Woods if he would feel the same way if the ban related to race. "Yes, it's unfortunate that it is that way, but it's just the way it is. A lot of these clubs, that's what they believe and that's what they've believed for a long period of time. It would be nice to see every golf course open to everyone who wanted to participate, but that's just not where society is."

Now there's something you don't see everyday, restraint from an athlete. Tiger Woods is remarkable for many reasons, but he understands that he is, first and foremost, a golfer. Excellence in golf is not expertise on social policy.

Tiger Woods can focus. With his dismissal of media pressure, he shows that masterful skill. Don't give in, kid. Concentrate on the game. The social reforms will follow because of your relentless excellence and quiet, gracious restraint.

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JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


07/18/02: Reality Muppets
07/09/02: We're all going to die, live with it
07/02/02: From the eye of the storm
06/27/02: Nick not right
06/20/02: Behind the music
06/14/02: The sum of all fears in vouchers
06/06/02: Where was Agent Rowley when the FBI needed her?
05/30/02: Of big hair and sanity
05/24/02: Should I embrace liberalism?
05/20/02: Some passion about Israel
05/09/02: A mother who cares enough
05/02/02: Go ahead, pass judgment
04/29/02: The irritation of the modern wedding
04/18/02: Claire's life
04/15/02: Harvard takes off its pants one leg at a time
04/09/02: The Clinton legacy: Politics of personal destruction
03/31/02: Oscars' subtle bigotry was embarrassing
03/22/02: Blame Oprah, Rosie, Sally, Ted, David
03/14/02: The costs of women's feeble choices
03/08/02: Botoxic faces
02/28/02: The dangers of organized philanthropy
02/25/02: Don't take the gold
02/14/02: Ease up on the brothers and sisters
02/11/02: Because I was courted
02/05/02: Fat fault
01/24/02: Tolerance does not mean stupidity
01/17/02: Too old too soon
01/10/02: Ethically challenged firms
01/03/02: The year that was
12/27/01: The Twelve Days of inconsistency
12/20/01: Free Speech and the political spectrum
12/13/01: Curbing brats
12/06/01: Power to influence
11/29/01: The disappearing art of grading
11/21/01: The Big Two-Five
11/13/01: You can never find a lib when you need one
11/01/01: Unlucky in sports
10/26/01: An epidemic of counselitis
10/16/01: A touch of class
10/12/01: Of human nature and monsters
10/05/01: Sensitive man
10/01/01: Post-September 11 security
09/20/01: No tinhorn terrorists can frighten us
09/06/01: If there is no honor in youth sports, it is because of the adults
08/27/01: The draw of Condit
08/23/01: Lowering expectations and flying high
08/17/01: Thoreau, Walden and stems cells
08/13/01: Our masters: The animals
07/30/01: When principle hits too close to home
07/13/01: Rage born of sublimation
07/06/01: Patient's rights and the Valley of Death
06/29/01: There is no excuse
06/21/01: I want an eternal soulmate, but the marriage thing is another issue
06/14/01: Which way maverick McCain? An Arizonan's perspective
06/07/01: No stroke of genius
05/30/01: The lesson of the Mr. Green Jeans senator: 'Moderate' is a classy term for wishy-washy
05/25/01: Baseball has not been so good to me
05/18/01: Clothes make the woman
05/11/01: Selective precaution
05/04/01: Grades: Equality of students, by students, for the students
04/27/01: The Horowitz revelations as seen by a college professor
04/20/01: First, let's kill all the tests
04/13/01: The continuing mistake of underpricing electricity
04/06/01: That pill, Julia Roberts
03/29/01: If it weren't for the parents, we might accomplish something
03/23/01: The melt down of the academy
03/15/01: Columbine redux: Moral infants
03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
12/29/00: The year that was
12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
10/06/00: The government as the pharmacy: Don't
09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2002, Marianne M. Jennings