It is unfortunate that Tiger Woods has decided to take an indefinite leave of absence from his golf game. The negative publicity about his intimate life and transgressions has taken its toll. There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this incident.
Tiger has disconnected himself in every way from Black life. He is disassociated from Black people. Yet, as he has lived in a White world, he has played perfectly to the Black male sterotype. When Black people get on top of the world with fame, fortune and riches they are in a vulnerable position. They are not necessarily secured, even though they think they are. Tiger's role model, mentor and molder was his father, Mr. Earl Woods. He was a tough, old school, green beret , Black man. He sheltered his only child. He gave him a strong mind of discipline and focus. He taught him the game of golf when the golf club was taller than he. He nurtured and developed his son's talent. But did Tiger ever play with the boys, I mean the Black boys in the neighborhood?
American society, post racial or otherwise, does not allow you to out Black yourself when you are Black. Tiger will always be identified as a Black man. The skin color is what it is. He is also an industry, a golf industry. When Tiger golfs the world watches and listens and the sponsors pay. When Tiger does not play golf, the game suffers. He is in the prime of his life as a sportsman. It will do him good to take a break, look at his life, save his marriage , determine his options and do some soul searching. Tiger is a billion dollar industry. He is not a golfer. He is a golfing enterprise and his power can alter the game.
He is exactly where Muhammad Ali was once for boxing, Michael Jordan was for basketball and Michael Jackson for music. These men became supermen with extreme talents that give them great privilege. They can even escape their blackness, but it is not wise to do so.
Take a look, Michael Jackson's life ended in a tragedy. He escaped his blackness. Muhammad Ali did not escape his blackness, he emphasized it. Michael Jordan did not escape his color, he was secure in his skin. Escaping blackness, when you are black, is a dangerous place.
Right now, as Tiger is in his reflective mode, one of the things I hope for him, is to find his brothers. He needs brothers to talk and walk him through this challenging moment. Men will always seek the pleasures of women. That's what they do. Rich men have more opportunities than the blue collar worker. What someone forgot to tell Tiger, is that women come for rich, men, particularly the athlete with a pretty smile. Tiger is an exotic, curious, rich type. The women line up. Vegas is a seductive place, a grown up Disneyland. You can have anything you want, so you are lead to think. The money flows, the hotels are the height of luxury and to make you gamble, they will provide anything, women included. High rollers and pretty people are welcome 24 hours, 7 days a week. The town does not close down.
Fame has a price. Privacy diminishes. It means you have to be careful, where you are, and who you are with. Some of Tiger's ways are inexcusable. But time will forgive. But his golf game is another case in point. Tiger cannot give up the game because the game will not allow it. The major golfers have spoken. They did not attack him, they said, it's a personal matter. His time out is of major consequence. His challenge is to connect with Black men. His challenge is to go back on the golf course and hit the hell out of the ball. His perfect controlled life got out of control.
I hope Michael Jordan, Charley Barclay, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton can confer with Mr. Woods. Tiger needs the council of Black men.