Sunday, March 7, 2010

I'm Sorry...Really?

Are you tired of public apologies? Are you sick of seeing famous people with seemingly perfect lives screw up, blubber about it on camera and wonder what possessed them to behave that way in the first place? John Edwards, Mark Sanford, Ted Haggard. Enough already!

And Tiger, I get that you messed up, but it seems to me the only people you owe an apology are your wife and family, friends and maybe Nike shareholders.

Save the rest of it for another time. Take away TMZ and The National Enquirer and Tiger would still be crushing the PGA like walnuts. In other words, he didn't seem to be apologizing for his behavior as much as for getting caught.

Some apologies, however, I would like to hear.

Which brings me to Derrick Rose. I was at a Bulls game the other night entertaining (this year some would say subjecting)guests when I looked around at a number of Bulls jerseys with Derrick Rose's number 1 on the back.

My son Thomas received the same Rose jersey from one of his running buddies for his 11th birthday. He was excited and wore it for a few days until the story broke about Derrick Rose having someone else take his SAT exam to get into Memphis. I sat down with Thomas a couple of weeks later and let him know that he was not to wear the jersey any more for two reasons:

1) His mistake would likely cost students, alumni and fans of the school any games he played in. Rose was "one and done" to the NBA after only one season, and subsequently Memphis was forced to forfeit their entire season which ended in the Final Four.

As an aside, Memphis was also forced to vacate their only other Final Four appearance in the mid '80s. I am planning a reality show featuring players from schools forced to forfeit games and seasons due to misbehavior. A cast of thousands, as they say.

2) He has yet to apologize for his mistake.

We all make mistakes, I said, but without contrition his bad example is made worse. So I asked for the shirt, which we gave to goodwill, and offered to buy him a new one. He chose a Bulls shirt without a players name.

Teachable moment accomplished. I was proud of his reaction. He really had none, just looked at me as if to say "Yeah Dad, that makes sense." I reminded him that character is the way you behave when nobody is watching you.

I have never met Derrick Rose. Seems like a nice guy. Brilliant basketball player. He's young and has the talent to be an All Star for years to come. It's also apparent he had no interest in going to college, forced to do so by the ridiculous requirement that you must be 19 to play in the NBA. Have they set a maximum age yet?

Seems like a nice guy. That's the point and where, like Tiger's Nike ad, "I am Tiger Woods." We all craft an public image. Some people are active in social causes, or at least offer opinions once in a while. Some aren't. Tiger Woods is no Muhammad Ali. Or Jim Brown. He plays golf. Like nobody before or since.

Tiger plays golf, but that's really all he does. I have never heard him speak about infidelity or much of anything else, so he is no hypocrite. Flawed? Oh yeah. Hypocrite? Nah. Hello Mark Foley. A friend of mine said at one point, "Tiger's father must be so disappointed." Really? How would I know? How would anyone know?

As a kid one of my heroes was Cardinals great Lou Brock. I went to a game at Wrigley Field when I was 12 with a homemade sign congratulating him on his 3000th hit. Later I sent him a letter requesting an autograph. He (his peeps) sent a form letter saying I needed to send $20 for it. My Dad said to remember the moment, what he does on the field.

Teachable moment accomplished.

Later I remember meeting Artis Gilmore, "the A train," at a Bulls game. No autographs, just a handshake and smile. Much more meaningful.

So to me heroes are like politics. If all politics are local, let's keep the heroes local. Parents, teachers, friends and family. Those we know, or at least think we know.


  1. Welcome to our blogging family. As in person your blogs reveal introspection and caring about others. I am not surprised by your energy to contribute prolifically. I wish I could do the same.

  2. Thanks Ed for the kind words.

    Take care.