Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weasel of the Week: Mark Steinberg

Mr. Steinberg is the agent of scandal-scarred golf champion Tiger Woods, and should be held accountable, moreso than Woods, for the staged press conference that took place on Friday.

Woods had the perfect opportunity to speak from the heart and make his apologies to his wife, Elin, their children, and his fans for his serial philandering. Instead, Steinberg created a controlled environment in which Woods read from a prepared statement, and the media assemblage was not allowed to ask questions. That made the mea culpas and the accompanying promises ring rather hollow.

What did Steinberg hope to accomplish? The easiest answer would be that he, and perhaps Woods himself, wanted to cling to what dignity and imagery that is left. Woods had already lost commercial endorsements with Accenture, Gillette, & Buick, among others, in the wake of the sexual skeletons that burst from the closet in the wake of his wrecking his SUV on Black Friday. By choosing to create a controlled enviroment, Steinberg has only made the situation worse for Woods. The tabloids aren't about to let go of the story, and who's to say that they may have exaggerated the number of alleged mistresses attached to Woods, in order to make the story juicier for the scandal-obsessed curiosity seekers among us?

The right thing to do would've been for Woods to pour his heart out and be completely contrite, forthright, and honest. By keeping a lot of his feelings contained, Woods is letting the mountain of redemption become even more difficult to climb. He's become a pariah to his fellow golfers and some of the media. There are those in the media who think that everything will be just fine as soon as Woods returns to the golf course. A win, especially in a major tournament, such as the Masters or US Open, will heal most, but not all, of the wounds, they say. I don't think it'll be that easy.

In his statement, Woods admitted he was wrong for thinking his star status allowed him to live by a different set of rules. However, he comes off as a hypocrite because of the controlled environment in which he made that statement. You can't have it both ways, but Woods & Steinberg seem to think so. Steinberg gets the "Weasel" label this week more so than Woods because you have to pin the blame on the agent for controlling the environment surrounding his client in the deluded notion that Woods' image can be saved or repaired. Instead, the damage is closer to irreparable.


Samuel Wilson said...

Woods shouldn't have had to do a damn thing. He owes the public nothing. Why was his adultery so much more offensive to the world than anyone else's in modern times. Did people think he was still a child prodigy. Is there a morals clause in the PGA? If not, then he should rejoin the tour as soon as he pleases and anyone of a mind to protest the idea should be driven from the links.

hobbyfan said...

Woods, as I noted, lost most of his endorsement deals. I don't think there is any sort of morals clause in the PGA, but the fact that Woods is the tour's most recognizable and marketable player, turned this into more of a major story than it had any right to be. There wasn't as much of a firestorm when a LPGA player, Jan Stephenson, posed for Playboy, IIRC, 25-odd years ago. In Woods' case, it's all about preserving what image he has left, as I noted before. It's a lost cause, true, but Woods may be among the few that doesn't really recognize this.