Perhaps you've also heard about a famous athlete who has suffered chastisement and public ridicule of the same magnitude over these past few months.
What I find interesting, though, is that Sheen has issued no apology whatsoever, nor has there been any hue and cry that he conduct a public press conference, answer all the media's sundry questions and jolly well explain himself to the indignant entertainment media . . . or else.
When an entertainment figure -- be it Sheen,
Not so with naughty athletes. Their sins invariably are taken to reflect on sports -- especially their sport.
And athletes are also supposed to be better neighbors. Nowhere have I even read that Sheen has been criticized for damaging the professional life and livelihood of the many people who work on his TV show. But, for example, when
Being in an individual sport, Woods cannot be accused of letting just his team down. Rather, the accusations are larger, that he has blemished the whole dear sport of golf. Now that he has put on the hair shirt and is off attending to his personal plight, the overriding question has become: how can this ungrateful bastard make it up to golf? Well, leaving aside the rather significant fact that, by virtue of his genius and popularity, Woods has given to golf far more than he could ever harm it with his personal irresponsibility, what does he -- what does any athlete -- owe his sport anymore than any other employee owes his profession?
The answer, by all accounts, seems to be a lot more.
I suspect it traces back to the same emotional root that beatifies amateurism. We love sports and we're envious of those who play them so well, so we expect these lucky devils to participate for the sheer joy of being blessed. Then, when an athlete like Woods fails as a human being, we respond more with anger than disappointment -- how dare he tarnish something we do so adore.
It's almost as if we expect politicians and entertainers to be venal and flawed, but despite all historical evidence to the contrary we keep expecting better from athletes. We keep saying that Tiger Woods has let golf down because we don't want to admit that he has let us down.