Paper Tiger

Golf's Godsend Has a Below-Par Social Conscience

If the past is any guide, those athletes who've managed to become bigger than their sport have done so by not being defined, and ultimately confined, by sports. Ali wasn't just a great boxer, he was the symbol of a movement. Woods's father has set his lofty sights on Mandela, but Tiger himself would do well to get some education under his belt, if he's to fulfill such promise. Unfortunately, Woods is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to dumb jocks. When asked her opinion of Title IX, a clueless Jennifer Capriati once replied, "I have no idea what Title IX is. Sorry."

Lopiano argues that much of the blame rests with the athletes' handlers. "I think that agents do not impress upon their celebrity talent the obligation that they have and the reality of what they are going to be confronted with," she says. "Public figures do not have choices. By their very definition they are role models. Whenever an athlete says, 'I don't know what Title IX is,' or fails to take a position in his sport, it reflects poorly on his intellect and his image."

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