In December, Laura blogged about the Tiger imbroglio. Two months later, he issued an apology amid invited friends, family and journalists. The 14 minute scripted event left a lot to be desired for a several reasons. First, why wait two full months? (A: So he can participate in the closed-to-the-media Masters Tournament in April.) Second, who wrote this? (A: A combination of people, whose writing was pretty awful. It was disorganized and repetitive) Third, did he rehearse this? (A: See the video; clearly not.)
Will this public apology actually help Tiger? I think not. In fact, I think this probably hurt him more than it helped. In January, Laura blogged about public forgiveness. Tiger's apology lacked many of the critical elements necessary for "public forgiveness." Are there good examples of public apologies? For example, do New York Governors Spitzer and Paterson's public apologies pass muster? While the situation is not entirely comparable, the First Minister of Ireland Peter Robinson's admission that his wife had an affair illustrates the gravity and sincerity, and personal nature of his wife's transgressions. Though he is the aggrieved, the public explanation is profound and heart-felt.
What makes a public apology a "good one" and when does the public forgive? A few of the elements include: timing, sincerity and contrition. While Tiger was contrite, he diverged from the apology to attack the media thereby diluting his message. So too, his timing is way too late. How can we believe he is sincere two months later? Apologizing so close to the Masters is suspicious at best.
Unlike Europe, Americans care about the sex lives of politicians and celebrities. Will we always care? And, will this type of public apology ultimately help Tiger?