Either the 22-year news embargo has been lifted or the Broadcasting Thought Police haven’t yet arrested WFAN’s Richard Neer for media malfeasance in the first degree. What he said on the air Monday morning, after all, previously was an act of sedition.
Neer cast some practical doubt on a fellow who for years was presented to Americans not only as the greatest in his sport (which was true for a while), but also as the world’s greatest son, husband, father and human: Tiger Woods. Yet Neer’s still at large, not yet in custody.
Neer noted that Woods, that morning, had tweeted he was out of drug rehab, although not quite. “Drug” and “rehabilitation” didn’t make the cut. The message read: “I recently completed an out of state private intensive program. I will continue to tackle this going forward with my doctors, family and friends.”
Whatever “this” is.
Neer said this strikes him as one of those dubious “two-week miracle cures,” thus he’s not convinced Woods is properly dealing with an addiction for which he might need “intensive treatment.”
Neer might have added that this tweet, in the month following Woods’ 3 a.m., lost-in-space, DUI arrest, carried the stink of a Team Tiger public relations ploy, as it was sent in the midst of the July Fourth holiday. Public relations folks often have high-profile clients choose to release statements that don’t reflect particularly well on them at times that make the least possible news.
But what, other than Woods’ ability to shoot lower than everyone else, has not been accompanied by the doubtful, followed by media-excused absences of common sense?
He tweeted that after an “intensive program” he was working with “my doctors.”
In 2009, with the finest doctors in this country to select from, Woods and company chose Canadian Anthony Galea, who was flown to Florida a reported 14 times to treat Woods’ knee.
Two years later, Galea pled guilty to smuggling illegal drugs and human growth hormone into the United States.
Woods and Galea claimed the doctor administered no illegal treatments. So then why would Woods fly him in from Toronto? He couldn’t have been similarly, legally treated by a U.S.-accredited physician?
But to even hint that this made less sense than it did nonsense went widely ignored. Woods was entitled to escape such logical doubt while his career has been laced with the stench of fraud.
His closely followed, far-flung and expensive “amateur” career surely was financed by his father after the monolithic rep firm, IMG, hired Earl Woods as a “talent scout,” as if Dad scouted other talent. Tiger then belonged to IMG the instant he turned pro, thus Team Tiger thumbed its nose at USGA rules prohibiting amateurs from having agents.
His come-out, attitude-enriched Nike commercial had Woods, who previously had insisted that he didn’t want to be known for his race, saying, “There are still courses in the United States that I am not allowed to play because of the color of my skin.”
But as the most celebrated amateur since Bobby Jones, no such thing, as a Nike rep later admitted, was true. Woods, however, often played and practiced at a course in Houston that excluded women.
In 1997, when Woods skipped a PGA event in the U.S. to play a tournament in Thailand, the media reported Team Tiger’s claim: he was playing in Thailand to honor his mother’s heritage. What a son!
That $ 500,000 appearance fee to play in Thailand? Shhh. Don’t ruin it! After all, that week’s PGA Tour winner won only $ 270,000.
But Woods has always been guarded — and enabled — by fractional truths, if not lies, blissfully indulged or advanced by media.
Of course, no one rolled over and played dead for Woods more often than TV, its golf voices allowing him to be the only player entitled to act like a foul-mouthed spoiled brat, even into his late 30s, without a discouraging word about what was impossible for viewers to not hear or see.
During the 2010 Ryder Cup, as Woods and Steve Stricker were losing their second team match, NBC’s Johnny Miller identified the problem: Stricker. It was his fault.
Yet it was clear to even miniature golfers that Stricker was playing better than Woods.
Into NBC’s booth entered Colin Montgomerie, guest commentator. Apparently unfamiliar with the rules of Tiger Woods American TV coverage, the Scotsman volunteered that Woods was playing poorly.
“He has hardly hit a fairway or green in regulation,” Montgomerie said.
OMG! Awkward silence. Montgomerie had no idea that no matter how conspicuous the truth, you’re not supposed to say that, not about Tiger Woods.
And so despite the rank pandering and Woods’ continuing free fall, the media have done Woods no favors.
FOX no match for this legal eagle
FOX Sports boss and former ESPN shot-caller Jamie Horowitz, this week was fired for alleged sexual misconduct. Employees must attend seminars to deter sexual harassment, yet it’s their bosses who are fired for it.
It’s odd, too, how defense lawyers make public declarations of hard facts without possibly knowing them. Horowitz’s attorney, Patricia Glaser, immediately knew that FOX, not Horowitz, was the guilty party:
“The way Jamie has been treated by FOX is appalling,” she said. “At no point in his tenure was there any mention from his superiors or human resources of any misconduct or an inability to adhere to professional conduct.”
Does that mean FOX owed Horowitz a warning to cut it out?
Glaser continued: “Jamie was hired by FOX to do a job that until today he has performed in an exemplary fashion.”
How does she know? Did she shadow Horowitz at work?
Finally, she said, “Any slanderous accusations to the contrary will be vigorously defended.”
So how can she be sure she’s not slandering those who fired him?
Many high-powered attorneys are like Mike Francesa. They can publicly claim anything about anything and anyone as fact without knowing if it’s true, never to be held accountable.
Closing book on by-the-book
Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, and we can hear John Sterling: “Casey Stengel has seen enough, Suzyn. He has brought in eighth-inning man Dellin Betances. That closes the book on Don Larsen: Seven innings, no runs, no hits, no walks.”
FOX’s commercials for Tuesday’s All-Star Game are off by at least a half-hour. The game will not begin at 7:30 p.m., but sometime after 8 p.m.
Damien Wilson, the Cowboys linebacker who was arrested Tuesday on two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon — a car and a rifle — is a University of Minnesota man.
After Joey Chestnut again won the 2017 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating competition on July 4, reader Mark Woloshyn was disappointed that ESPN didn’t post Chestnut’s postgame “exit velocity.”