Sports’ Super-Sinners

The revelations of Tiger Woods’ numerous martial indiscretions provoked one of the most dramatic falls from grace a sportstar has ever suffered. This was due in no small part to the fact that Woods represented so much more than a sporting genius. In the USA Woods was an icon, the living proof of the “American Dream”. For a black man to reach the summit of a sport so rooted in tradition and elitism was seen as inspirational, what’s more Woods always appeared a consummate gentleman both on and off the course.

When his infidelity leaked into the public sphere I refused to read a single article lambasting Woods for his behaviour. Sure, I was disappointed, as a Woods fan I too had always respected him for his apparently family orientated lifestyle. Suddenly his name was being plastered across every tabloid and celebrity magazine, as the media licked it’s lips watching an acclaimed icon being reduced to a shell. I never cease to be repulsed by this celebrity obsessed culture we embrace. We live in a society where reporting the downfall of the famous is a lucrative business, all because there’s nothing society loves more than to witness someone who was once adored condemned for their human flaws.

Quite content with myself, sitting pretty on the moral high ground Re Woods, I got a wake up call when John Terry’s recent antics were highlighted; “That prick”, I believe was my initial reaction. As a relatively fanatical Man U fan I had no hesitation in differentiating between Woods’ actions and those of Terry. Bridge is in the English squad, Terry is supposed to be captain, not to mention his good friend, sure they both cheated on their wives but Terry’s affair had more victims.

For a while I even believed my own bullshit. I still maintain that if the inevitable rift in the English squad is the main cause of England’s failing in Wold Cup 2010 then Terry’s actions will be proved a necessary talking point from a sporting perspective. But until then I refuse to judge these sportsmen by their private conduct made public. Woods is one of the best athletes to ever live and Terry, even if he plays for Chelsea, is a world class defender, neither asked to be hailed a role model or superstar, unfortunately for them it’s a product of their environment.

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