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What Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen Have In Common

January 7, 2010

You may have heard about a famous athlete’s fall from grace.  You may have heard about a famous actor’s similar trials and tribulations.  Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen, both of whom seem unable to treat the women in their lives respectfully, have more in common than you might expect.

Take Tiger: a multiracial, well-respected, once-in-a-lifetime talent in a sport heretofore dominated by a monochromatic, socioeconomically exclusive crowd.  Tiger has completely changed the world of golf.  For over ten years he has dominated his sport like no other individual besides perhaps Roger Federer or Jimmy Johnson.  He has made the sport accessible—and maybe even cool—for millions of children who never even would have considered it before.  Tiger’s squeaky clean image and charitable foundations have made him a beloved public figure, even as he fiercely guards his privacy.  His myriad endorsements have made his face ubiquitous across all forms of media.  Tiger has been made, and made himself, into a mythical figure.

Until he revealed himself to be but a human man.  Like Icarus, he fell to earth when he became a bit too curious about things (and people) he had been warned to avoid.  Tiger’s infidelities have taken an unimaginable psychic toll on his family, who have retreated to more comfortable, supportive confines to heal.  With each new alleged mistress, Tiger’s image takes a beating, as does his pocketbook.  He has already lost deals with Accenture, AT&T, and Gatorade; while Tag Heuer, Golf Digest, and Gillette are “respecting Tiger’s privacy” by phasing him out of their advertisements, if not erasing him completely.  (EA Sports is sticking with him, probably because no one would buy a golf video game without his name or face on it.)  While the scandals have eaten into Tiger’s gigantic yearly earnings, it has caused even worse damage for the companies who endorsed him.  A study by professors at UC Davis estimates that Tiger sponsors have lost $12 billion in wealth due to the golfer’s travails.  The rise and fall (and perhaps rise again?) of a true global icon.

Now, Charlie: a good actor a long time ago, actor on shitty “comedy” now.  Divorces, liaisons with prostitutes and porn stars, arrests, rehab, and arrests for domestic violence including this last Christmas on charges he assaulted his current wife.  This last screw-up cost him his Hanes endorsementHanes.  He crams his smelly unit into them, wears them until he shits on them, then throws them away.  Sound familiar, ladies?

I may have overstated their similarities.  My apologies.

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