Every few months, we Americans lay witness to public relations gaffes of epic proportions. As we approached the end of 2009, the frontrunners for “PR Nightmare of the Year” appeared to be Domino’s Pizza and David Letterman. However, as many a PGA pro can attest, you never can count Tiger Woods out of the running until the last hole of the last round has been played. It appears that, once again, Tiger has stepped up his game in the 11th hour, taking PR debacles and media scrutiny to a new level. Now, I’m no golf enthusiast. I’m really not much of a sports fan. And I’m certainly not into celebrity gossip. So in general, I’ve tried to tune out this Tiger situation. Personally, I believe that what a person does in his or her private life should remain private. But, for better or worse, this is not the world we live in. People, particularly mega-celebrities, live their lives in the public arena. It goes with the territory.
So why am I adding to the glut of useless content already dedicated to this topic? Because every time a public luminary digs a reputational abyss for themselves, I’m inevitably asked: “What would your PR recommendations be if they were your client?” A few folks have already asked me about the Tiger situation, so I thought I would share my insights, garnered from years of PR experience. Here goes... pay attention…
Don’t cheat on your wife.
Yes, I’m being serious. No one should cheat on their spouse. And, if you’re a mega-celebrity whose every move is being scrutinized … you really really really shouldn’t cheat on your spouse. It’s that simple. I do not have a super-power that allows me to help people avoid the consequences which come from making bad decisions. And it’s certainly not why I got into the business of PR. My passion is for amplifying the good … not hiding the truly bad.
Of course, I have no idea what really happened with Tiger Woods. If in fact he has not been cheating on his wife, than we have a very different scenario on our hands – one which cannot and should not be addressed by an armchair PR practitioner. But if these allegations against Tiger have validity, than I think Tiger’s next move was best articulated by Magic Johnson on Larry King Live: Focus on your wife and kids now … tell the honest truth and just move on.”