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We can sum up all the nuttiness and overreaction to the Tiger Woods scandal with Hank Gola’s column in Friday’s New York Daily News.
“We’ve heard condemnations from [Swedish golfer] Jesper Parnevik and Herm Edwards, support from Charles Barkley and Jack Nicklaus. We’ve even read a 371-word statement from Tiger Woods. But we still need to hear from PGA tour commissioner Tim Finchem … the time is coming for him to address whether Woods — the face of the PGA tour — should be suspended for conduct unbecoming a professional.”
For what, exactly? For having a lot of mistresses? How many, exactly, is too many, and should this be specified in the PGA’s rules? If the number is 12, as David Letterman cracked the other night, does this put Woods “two over par”?
To our knowledge, no professional league or organization has ever suspended an athlete for sexual misconduct or even defined what they believe sexual misconduct to be.
As Gola writes, “There are the unsubstantiated allegations of drug use and pay for sex” — though exactly why Tiger Woods would have to pay for sex is something we would like to see explained. “Finchem said recently that recreational drug use, when discovered through the Tour’s new testing policy, is considered ‘conduct unbecoming.’ So ….?”
Precisely … so? If Woods has broken a law or specifically violated the Tour’s stated rules, then the punishment must already be specified. But this “conduct unbecoming” is bullshit. Is the PGA going to hire private detectives to check out the personal behavior of their players? Are we going to have a definition of how many mistresses (beyond one, a reasonable number, we think) each player is to be allowed? If the PGA attempts to go beyond what’s written in black and white regarding drug use (and how are such matters to be proved after the fact?) they are getting themselves into a legal sand trap which could set their sport back to a time …. Well, to a time before Tiger Woods. In other words, golf’s stone age.