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March 18, 2010

What Price Glory?

Derek Shackelford

Fame comes with a price. It will cost all of us something. The prices are different in each circumstance. In many instances the price is constant media attention.


Take for instance the cases of Tiger Woods and Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Both individuals are highly recognized, highly compensated and now highly scrutinized.


Fame comes with a price!


Mr. Woods recently conducted a press conference on television to apologized and acknowledge his infidelity.


What is amazing about this apology is that it was not personal; it was corporate. Only Mr. Woods knows the depth and truth of the apology. Corporate, in meaning that included all of us. Every major network covered the apology event during the middle of the day.


On that particular Friday, media coverage galore descended on the State of Florida to cover the “event.” It was by personal invitation only and featured the inability of media representatives in attendance to ask questions regarding the statement by Mr. Woods.


What was more amazing was what followed. Analysts analyzed whether or not the apology was sincere and if it was just an attempt to salvage his commercial endorsements.


Fame comes with a price – to the extent that a person is being critiqued in a public forum on a personal indiscretion that exists between him, his wife and their children.


Ironically Mr. Woods used the opportunity to chide the media for their excessive coverage of his children. He kept the firestorm brewing by calling a national press conference. Now the clock ticks as he prepares to return to golf at the Masters in early April.


His career will not be the same and questions will linger about these issues in particular. Some will believe there is more to the story than what has been reported.


No matter how many championships he wins, he will not be able to escape the lingering questions. I have no opinion either way on his marital infidelity. Tiger Woods is just a man who plays golf very well. The quicker he realizes this, the better; maybe he does already. It may be the general public who expects more of him because of who he is. Mr. Woods is now old news in the athletic news cycle…


Ben Roethlisberger has received the public attention because of an alleged sexual assault. It is the second time he has been accused of this type of conduct. As a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, one would think Mr. Roethlisberger would exhibit better judgment than bar hopping in a college town, especially in light of the fact he’s been removed from college for six years.


So now, Mr. Roethlisberger has taken front and center stage for the last week. Many have offered an opinion, not so much on his guilt or innocence, on his apparent lack of maturity.


Several years ago it was riding a motorcycle without a helmet, the aforementioned pending civil sexual assault case and now this.


Fame comes with a price.


Conventional wisdom suggests that those with money should exercise better decision making when it comes to their personal affairs. Not so.


In a culture which celebrates celebrities, the people who score touchdowns, hit homeruns, and make putts are people just like us. They entertain us. We often expect more from them because of their financial status.


But if you give a reckless person an astronomical amount of money, you just get more recklessness. In many instances fame and fortune will not change a person’s behavior.


Unfortunately what fame and fortune often do is bring out more of who we are. We can only hope that these experiences are beneficial to their respective personal lives. Athletes thrive on the thrill of competition. Any athlete will tell you that records are made to be broken.


Sadly, it appears people are made to be broken as well.


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