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Wolf: Troubled by Tiger ad

I am troubled by the Tiger Woods advertisement. There seems to be a serious case of exploitation going on here. The perpetrators are not only the usual suspects but Nike seems to have colluded with Tiger in denigrating the memory of his father, Earl. One would think this is not the time for Tiger to engage in further declivities.

If you have not seen the commercial, you need to. Sports.ktar.com has the Nike ad up and running. It is a powerful spot, dare I say stunning. Shot in black and white, Tiger stares directly into the camera with a forlorn look on his face. As if from beyond the grave, the words of his father, Earl, drift from the speakers, lecturing Tiger on some lesson of life.

“Tiger, I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion,” Earl Woods says. “I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are, and, did you learn anything.”

The Nike ad is stunning and brilliant, indeed. When I first saw it my jaw slackened and my eyes grew wide. I was stunned and amazed. Stunned that Tiger would take his apology to a different level than we have ever seen before, using his father to scold him in front of the world; stunned at the sincerity of his remorse, allowing Nike to “resurrect” his father’s words from the grave. My amazement came from the sound and words of Earl Woods and how Nike found the sound and words. Finally, the poignancy of the words and the haunting voice of Earl Woods made this the most memorable commercial spot I have ever seen.

But there appears to be one, major problem with the Nike ad: Earl Woods wasn’t talking to or about Tiger. He was talking about the difference between him and Tiger’s mother, Kutilda Woods, in a documentary filmed in 2004.

On the surface there appears to be nothing wrong with this. Nike merely took the words of Earl Woods talking about himself out of context and played them over the furrowed, forlorn face of Tiger. We can argue all day about whether or not it was good taste to deceive people into thinking Tiger’s father was speaking directly to him but his words were applicable, even ironic. Applicable because they are the questions many people want answered, ironic because they are the questions Tiger most likely will never answer.

Still, the question I cannot escape in my own mind is this: why would Tiger have agreed to do this? Why would he have agreed to let Nike deliberately take the words of his dead father out of context?

Many times I hear the words of my deceased father, teaching me things about life I will not soon forget. “Ronnie, look a man in the eye and offer a firm hand; never back up more than you have to; sometimes there is nothing a man can do but fight to protect what he loves.” And my personal favorite, “love is what makes a man strong.”

The precepts my father taught me not only agree with my personal beliefs but they are words I try to live by; I fail often. But I have never called on the name of my dead father to create sympathy for my failings.
Why would Tiger agree to do this Nike ad?

I don’t really know but I do know Tiger will never be unfaithful again. How could he? To do so – to betray his wife and family again – is to resurrect his father in vain, to bring him back to life just to dishonor him, to bury his father twice by allowing a shoe company to exploit his words, even take them out of context.

If Tiger Woods ever cheats on his wife again, we’ll know what he thinks of his father, won’t we? If he commits adultery again, Tiger should just void himself on Earl’s grave.

Tiger would have used Earl to simply satisfy a need he had. And, should Tiger be unfaithful again, what does that make his father?

Just another porn star.