Tag Archives: Sporting Life

Holiday News: Fishing Boats and Chicken Guts

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Monday was Respect for the Aged Day here in Japan and, without a doubt, many Japanese did pay tribute to their old folks – if they could find them.  But it would have been a dull holiday weekend if that was all that was going on.

The big international news was that China continued to play hardball with Japan over a fishing boat captain who was hauled in for violating Japanese (disputed) territorial waters, and for ramming one, possibly two, JSDF boats that were attempting to chase him back to international sea.  China negotiates with Japan aggressively, and is now pushing for the release of the fishing boat captain by urging the cancellation of tours to Japan, and allowing protests in the streets.

It is almost a law of nature that whenever a dispute arises between China and Japan that anti-Japan protestors appear on Chinese streets, complete with Japanese flag burning for the news cameras.  But this time the protests were surprisingly small, amounting to several hundred, which in a county of 1.3 billion people is not even one one-millionth of the population.  This isn’t, though, really about fishing boats, nor is it about a dead panda in Kobe, it’s about drilling for natural gas in the sea near the Senkaku Islands, where the incident occurred.

The bottom-line is that neither country can afford to let this confrontation choke the economic ties that have flourished over the years.  Proving that, thousands of Chinese continued to visit Japan and shop themselves blind from Ginza to Gion.

Meanwhile, millions of Japanese did what is now a modern holiday tradition: They got into their cars and drove to the nearest traffic jam.  Culturally speaking sitting for hours in traffic makes sense.  First, it emphasizes the group ethic – we may be  stuck in traffic, but we’re stuck in traffic together.  Second, it’s an exercise in stoicism in the face of remitting adversity — after hours of waiting for the traffic to clear, a driver finds an opening and accelerates to 20 km/hr, but just as he and passengers allow themselves a bit of exhilaration, they are thrust  into yet another traffic jam.  This kind of experience would break an untrained American, but it is commonly tolerated in Japan, and is actually considered a good way to enjoy a weekend.

A sportsman might have thought Hakuho’s sumo win streak would be the story of the weekend and the sportsman would have been wrong.  Hakuho has no challengers and makes opponents look like schoolboys who have had the misfortune to wonder onto the dohyo.  The only solace for opponents is that the front rows are still sold out and so their flights from the ring are cushioned by spectators.  Hakuho passed Chiynofuji’s post-war record of 53 consecutive wins and now is barreling to toward Futabayama’s all-time record of 69.  His effort has generated polite, subdued applause.  Sumo fans seem resigned that he will break all the records that they so worried Asashoryu would break.  Hakuho, however, will do it with better manners – he knows what happens to rikishi who misbehave.

The biggest weekend news for the morning wide shows was the fifth B-1 Gourmet Grand Prix, which drew 435,000 to Atsugi over two days.  This outdoor cooking contest featuring second-class, or B-class, cuisine, crowned a dish of chicken guts specifically, gizzard, heart, liver, and kinkan (un-laid eggs) as its champion.  Stories featuring the championship ran on all networks.  The event, like Uniqlo and its 1,000 yen clothing, and inexpensive standing bars, has captured the cultural moment; when the economic downturn makes it socially acceptable, even cool, to enjoy the cheap stuff.

The Most Dominant Athlete You Never Heard Of

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Ten straight world championships, including two Olympic gold medals and you still haven’t heard of her.   She’s 27 and she has lost hardly lost in international competition, winning 119 straight between 2002 and 2008.  Barring injury and boredom, she will likely win many more world championships.  Chance are, except for reading this, you have never heard of her and you never will again.

She has tried to get attention in many ways.  She dominates opponents.  Most try to deal with her the way they would a train wreck (they just want to survive).  Her championship matches largely consist of the opponent fighting to avoid a pin.  And she wins with style — catching some nice hang time off the handsprings she often does after winning.  She has even appeared in some ads on Japanese TV for ALSOK, a security company.

It doesn’t matter.  She’ll never really be famous because Saori Yoshida’s sport is women’s freestyle wrestling (weight class 55 kg).  That’s just not going to get her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, or even Sports Graphic Number any time soon. (She has appeared on the cover of a manga, but that’s not exactly fame, is it?)

She now has winning a third Olympic gold in London in her sights.  The only way she might be able to attract attention would be if she loses, because that would be such a surprise.  It’s highly unlikely that there will be any surprises.

Tokyo Marathon: The Gauntlet Thrown Down

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I applied Monday to participate in the annual promenade known as the Tokyo Marathon.  Yes, I, of  slow, encumbered gait, have thrown my hat into the ring, cast my gauntlet to the ground, drawn a line in the sand, and all that.  And, should I receive confirmed entry, hereby declare that I will not only run in said marathon, but shall finish said marathon.

Official notification will follow in October.   This sort of thing takes time, as — and this is really amazing — thousands line up for chance to spend four to six hours running in cold weather.  With any luck come February, I will join them in taking a long, slow jog around Tokyo, swearing at the cold.

Until several weeks ago, the Tokyo Marathon seemed like something I could reasonably do.  I just needed to put in the time training.  Then I managed to sprain my ankle, twist my knee, and jam my hip with one kick of a soccer ball.  It was a beautiful goal, I will, in all modesty, admit: A stunning shot, that rocketed past the amazed goalkeeper’s nose and into the net; a shot that turned the tide in an incredibly important game (parents and kids vs. parents and kids), and that also left its or creator in a heap on the turf, attempting to hide pain and embarrassment.

The goalkeeper, a former college player, approached: Hey, good shot.  How long have you been playing? Uh, wait, are you all right?  What could I say, but the truth? I have less experience in soccer than my 5-year-old son.  And, no, I’m not all right.

More truth: I have even less experience with marathons.  I did at one time run three to five miles a day — at one time, long, long ago — but I am really new to marathons.  Among the questions on the entry form was “Will you have a guide runner?”  I thought about this for a moment: Well, I know a guy who has run the Tokyo Marathon every year.  I guess I could follow him until he disappears over the horizon…. I was about to put his name down, when I figured out what it was actually asking.

But I digress, the challenge had been made: If given the chance, I will complete this ridiculously long race.  I provide the link in case you would like to join me.

Bad Bets: Sumo’s World of Trouble

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Until this week, I hadn’t seen Takatoriki cry since March 2000 when he became the lowest ranked rikishi to win a tournament.  He was 14th maegashira when he took down yokozuna Akebono and Musashimaru. This week he has been making the confessional rounds to the TV stations explaining how much he regretted becoming so deeply in debt betting on baseball games.

As least he has been openly contrite. Ozeki Kotomitsuki, whose exposure as a chronic gambler precipitated the scandal, has yet to make a formal apology.  Apologies were left to his oyakatta, Sadogadake (the former Kotonowaka), who tearfully did so to reporters at the Kokugikan.

Gambling is, apparently, a pastime for rikishi. A very big pastime: Twenty-six oyakatta and rikishi will be suspended for the Nagoya tournament, which begins Sunday.  At first, gambling might seem harmless enough, but becoming in debt to a mobster is the shortest route to yaocho – bout fixing.  I haven’t heard the word at all during the six weeks of this most recent, of many yakuza-related scandals, but surely it is on the minds of many.

Yaocho in sumo has been on my mind since a lecture at Temple University on crisis communication in 2008.  Near the end, a student asked what it would take to precipitate a major crisis in sumo — one that would force a restructuring of the JSA.  The JSA was then reeling from its confused handling of the beating death of the teen-aged rikishi Tokitaizan, its suspension of Asashoryu for playing soccer, and a scandal involving marijuana, which resulted in four rikishi being kicked out.  Scandal after scandal had come along and yet nothing  changed except that Chairman Kitanoumi stepped down and Musashigawa took his place.  So, asked the student, what would it take to force the JSA to restructure? Money, I said, either gambling or drug, but it had to be enough to put the outcome of the bouts under of suspicion. It had to be enough money to pressure a rikishi into throwing matches — yaocho.

At the heart of the current scandal is a former rikishi with yakuza ties who is suspected of trying to extort more than $1 million US from Kotomitsuki in exchange for keeping quiet about his gambling. Combine that with the common complaint that Kotomitsuki often failed to win big matches and it would be reasonable to wonder if yaocho was involved.

The JSA is looking to kick Takatoriki and Kotomitsuki out of sumo – no pension, you’re fired, hit the road.  It may also close the Otake stable, which Takatoriki runs, and the Tokitsukaze stable. (JSA didn’t see the need to close the Tokitsukaze stable after the death of Tokitaizan, but it does now.) Even if the JSA does all these things, the investigation is far from over and NHK, which pays the JSA more than $30 million US a year to broadcast the tournaments live, is considering suspending broadcast of the Nagoya tournament.  NHK won’t decide about the broadcast until this weekend.

In any serious crisis, there are other issues, which may exacerbate the situation.  In this case, the JSA is facing two: Loss of audience and internationalization.

Issue 1: Decline in audience

Even if NHK airs the Nagoya tournament, the JSA already has a problem with a lack of interest in the tournaments.  Two sumo tournaments have passed without Asashoryu or surprises.  Hakuho has crushed all opposition, winning both tournaments.  His win streak stands at 33, and he looks capable of going unbeaten for the rest of his life.  That’s not much of an exaggeration: In 2009, he set the record for wins in a year – with Asa in the game.  With Asa out, there is nobody is even close to him.  The JSA has seen declines before when a lone yokozuna (Taiho, Chiyonofuji, Asashoryu before Hakuho) dominated tournament after tournament.

In addition, charismatic Asashoryu could resign from the JSA and go into free-fighting.  He would have a couple of huge pay days – even if he proves not to be any good. (The former yokozuna Akebono made good money initially despite being clearly inept in the ring.)  This scenario would be similar to Rikidozan, the ethnic Korean and former sumo rikishi, who led a pro wrestling boom in the 50s that undermined sumo’s audience then.

Issue 2: Internationalization

In 1964, Jesse James Wailani Kuhaulua left Hawaii to become Takamiyama in Japan. Takamiyama eventually rose to sumo’s third highest rank, sekiwake, and after an exceptionally long career, he became a Japanese citizen, taking the title of Oyakatta Azumazeki.  He recruited and trained Konishiki, the first foreign ozeki, and Akebono, the first foreign yokozuna.  The JSA didn’t mind too much — foreigners were good box office. It saw how popular Rikidozan had become dispatching legions of foreigners  and Takamiyama had opened up the US market.

By the mid-90s, with Akebono a yokozuna, Konishiki still highly ranked, and Musashimaru moving up, it could be argued that the JSA was, in practice, international.  Certainly there can be no question about it now.  There are now 15 foreigners among the top 42 rikishi.  Of the five ozeki, only Kaiho and Kotomitsuki are Japanese, and Kotomitsuki will likely be gone soon.  The other ozeki are: Kotoshu, Bulgarian; Harumafuji, Mongolian; and Baruto, Estonian.  Since Musashimaru retired in 2002, there have been only two yokozuna, Hakuho and Asashoryu, both Mongolian.  Yet despite all this, the JSA recently moved to restrict the number of foreigners per beya and now requires that an oyakatta be a native Japanese citizen.  There will be no more naturalized oyakatta such as Takamiyama.

The JSA wants foreign rikishi for the audiences they bring, but refuses to think of itself as international.  The JSA considers itself to be a culture organization and sumo is sumo, not sport.  If it were sport, then the JSA would have to be more transparent and it would, most likely, not be allowed the tax breaks and such that it gets as a cultural organization.  Shedding the quasi-religious veil could cost the JSA a lot of money.  Until it does begin to think of itself as an international sports organization, it will continue to have difficulty dealing with foreign rikishi.  Foreigners view sumo as a professional sport and they need contracts with clearly outlined requirements and fines for failing to adhere to those requirements.  They are not coming to sumo to participate in an ancient Japanese tradition.  They are coming because there is money to be made in sumo.

Reorganize the JSA

When this scandal began to fully erupt, an official of Ministry Education, Culture, and Sports, which oversees the JSA, remarked that it was time for the JSA to become more transparent and an independent corporation.  Hiroshi Murayama, a former Tokyo High Prosecutors Office chief, has been named acting chairman. Every crisis creates opportunity, let’s hope this is one.

Confusing Style for Substance

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Like a lot of immature athletes, Japanese snowboarder Kazuhiro Kokubo  confuses style for  substance.   He caused a media stir when he was prevented from appearing in the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver Olympics because he was not wearing his  uniform properly.  If Kokubo were competing as an individual without any support from his country, then he should have been allowed to walk in wearing whatever he wanted.  But he was not.  He wore Japan’s national team uniform as if he had slept on a park bench for a week.  This is a common style for Japanese high school students.  But as a high school girl pointed out in a street interview, his style had no meaning — he’s 21 and a university student.  Contrast this with Shuan White.  White kept his red curls long, but still wore the USA uniform right in the opening ceremonies.  A uniform symbolizes a team and, in the Olympics, the country that you represent.  If you don’t like it, skip the ceremonies, as many  famous athletes do.

Then there was his unapologetic apology press conference.  (Let’s be consistent here: If you don’t feel like apologizing, then don’t.)  When asked if he had learned anything from the episode, he muttered “urasai”, which translates as noisy — the reporter was just making noise.  His coach intervened and said that Kokubo had difficulty speaking properly.  Soon afterward, Kokubo again courted the attention of the noisy news media, being photographed in a practice session wearing a black mouth piece with “samurai” in gold letters across the front.

But enough about style, let’s judge him by the substance of his performance:  Face plant in the finals of the half-pipe.  His bloody lip and chin graced the front page of many sports papers, making him a media star, though not a sports hero.

He returned to Japan earlier this week, wearing the uniform correctly and said he was glad to return home.  He’s only 21 and so there is still a chance for him to discover some substance.  He already has plenty of style.

Asashoryu and the New Year’s Basho

Meijijingu, January 2003: Asashoryu becomes the 68th yokozuna

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Now that Asashoryu has retired, there’s a lot that could be said, but video would say it better — particularly regarding his great rivalry with Hakuho.  I will try to find some.  For now this will have to suffice.  In the end, memories are all we carry with us.  These are the only goods that we truly own in life.  Here are a handful of mine.

The Answer is Yes

  • I always liked the Mongolians —  their variety of technique and their intensity.  Asa was still a teenager when he faced Musashimaru, reigning 520-pound yokozuna.  At the start of the match Asa missed everything and fell forward.  He ended up with his head stuck under Musashimaru’s shoulder.  Musashimaru grabbed Asa’s belt and began driving Asa back toward the edge.  Suddenly, Asa planted his left foot, slipped his head out and twisted.  Musashimaru was clearly on his way out, but Asa added an extra push to speed the exit.  He turned and stuck out his chest.  You could see at that moment he had answered a question all young athletes ask themselves:  Can I really be as good as I dream? The answer clearly was Yes.

The Importance of the Senshuraku

  • My wife and I hadn’t married yet when we went to the senshuraku of the 2003 Hatsu-basho (the last day of the New Year’s tournament).  Sumo wasn’t popular then, so it was easy for us to buy front row seats in the best section of the upper deck a few days before.  Asa won that day and the tournament, his second consecutive, earning him promotion to yokozuna.  We waited outside the Kokugikan and cheered as his champion motorcade drove away.  A few days later, almost exactly seven years before the day he retired, I was there at Meijijingu when he performed the dohyo-iri ceremony to become yokozuna.  It was a bright morning, the sun reflecting off the white paving stones of the shrine.  Takamisakari and Toki were his attendants.  I was on the right side, standing directly behind his father.  Nearby by were Takasago, Kitanoumi, and Chiyonofuji.  I suppose that emotionally tied me to Asa and the New Year’s basho. Every year after that, my wife and I have purchased masuseki, box seats, for the senshuraku of the New Year’s tournament.  Every year, that is, except 2005 when our son arrived on that senshuraku.  After that, we would have a little birthday party with friends  at the tournament and then afterward go to Kirishima’s chanko nabe place.  Great times.  These seats will be available next year.  I really wish Hakuho and Harumafuji well, but I won’t be there to cheer them on.  I’m finished with sumo.

Bad Break: Yokozuna Retires Over Nose Job

This has been updated to correct details regarding victim and Japan Sumo Association’s decision.

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Asashoryu announced his retirement Thursday after two weeks of controversy over his involvement in an early morning altercation that resulted in a man’s broken nose. At the press conference, his oyakatta, Takasago, was asked what kind of rikishi Asa had been. Takasago replied, “sonno mama” – “see for yourself.” Indeed, everyone present could see for themselves that Asa was one of the greatest rikishi ever – fast, flexible, strong, and fierce.

Despite his great performances, Asa and the Japan Sumo Association (JSA) never got along.  Some of the problem was Asa’s unruly ways, and some of it was the JSA’s immovable ways.  Now that they’ve split, Asa will likely prosper.  The JSA may not fare so well because it cannot recognize that it is an international organization.  The most important rikishi in sumo are largely foreigners.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves. This is roughly what happened, point-by-point in “Asa vs. the Club Owner” as gathered from news reports and hearsay:

  • After the sixth day of the New Year’s tournament at 4 a.m. on Jan. 16, Asashoryu was brought to the attention of the cops. He had been drinking at a nightclub (cabaret club) near Nishi-Azabu.

Asa thinks so little of his first week’s opponents that he makes it more challenging by drinking all night?

  • Prior to meeting the cops, Asa and the owner of the club had argued on the street.  The owner claimed later that Asa had whacked him and broke his nose.

One rumor had it that the owner was Chinese and somehow had laid claimed to Asa’s victories for China, which would have seemed imprudent at best; intentionally provoking at worst.  However, at least one magazine has referred to the owner as  “Yamada”.

  • After the confrontation, Asa and the owner go for a ride.  The car slows near some cops who are investigating a fender-bender and the owner shouts that he’s being kidnapped and that Asa is threatening to kill him. Cops intervene and some days after the incident  Asa makes good with the owner by giving him $100,000 in apology.

Now, where I come from a $100,000 for a broken nose is easy money and if Asa were still offering, I’d be the first in line.  But he’s not – he is, as of this writing, rich, single, 29, and in Hawaii.

  • The story is kept quiet as Asa goes on to win his 25th Emperor’s Cup and move into third place all-time behind Taiho (32) and Chiyonofuji (31). When the story does come out, Asa’s manager claims to have been the perp.

Note to all managers: Do not attempt your own crisis and issue management. You will fail. To all students of media relations:  The cover up is often worse than what you would hide.

  • News commentators scream for the yokozuna’s retirement. Finally, a showdown comes February 4, when Asa and Takasago meet with the JSA board.  One report had it that he was offered a choice: one year suspension (five tournaments) or retirement.  A more recent explanation , and  likely more accurate, was that board was split seven for forcing Asa out and three for a year  suspension. Chiyonofuji called Takasago and informed him of the vote. Asa decided to retire.

I earlier said that Asa chose what is known in business school as BATNA — best alternative to a negotiated agreement – he said to hell with it.  However,  it may have been that the board had take a lesson from the Don Corleone School of Diplomacy and made Asa an offer he couldn’t refuse.

Even if Asa had been able to get the one year suspension, it wouldn’t have been a happy outcome for him. The only thing to gain by staying in sumo was a shot at breaking the record for tournament wins.  But that would be hard even without the suspension.  The JSA last year began enforcing the rule for getting set at the start of a match.  It was a thinly veiled effort to slow Asa and his winning down.  A one year suspension would have all but stopped him.

The JSA wanted to show that nobody is bigger than the JSA.  It did.  It also showed that nobody is smaller than the JSA.

Strange TV

This was a disaster for sumo and Hakuho’s response drove the point home. The Friday morning wide new shows ran footage of Hakuho crying as he tried to make a statement.  He seemed to understand what the JSA didn’t.  Sumo needs Asa and so does he.  Hakuho is a great yokozuna in his own right, but this is Gehrig without Ruth; Frazier without Ali.

Since the scandal broke, TBS seemed to be in favor of a forced retirement, plus flogging and burning at the stake.  The TBS morning show repeatedly listed all of Asa’s infractions, some serious — the confrontations with Kyokushuzan — and others trivial — Asa in baggy shorts in Hawaii.  By Friday morning, however, TBS was nostalgic for Asa.

Fuji TV’s Tokudane Times reported that details of the incident – that were not public – indicated that the JSA had the option of allowing Asa to stay active.  Mainoumi said that the JSA members were tired of issuing warnings.  They just didn’t felt like keeping Asa around, though they could have.

Fuji TV’s Reiko Yokono had managed to get to Asa as he was leaving the JSA meeting.  She said that Asa kindly touched her face and thanked her for all of her work.  She then went into a segment on what it was like to cover Asa – showing video of him laughing and playing a guitar, interpreting for his parents, and several incidents of him telling her and the rest of the press to get lost.

On Saturday, Fuji TV continued its coverage, sending a reporter to ask foreigners what they thought.  He found a lot of foreigners who hadn’t really thought about it.  To save the story, the reporter went out of his way to find some foreigners who, he said, understood Japanese culture:  Foreigners studying at a bonsai school.  Their answer:  The teacher, Takasago, should have taken better care of the student, Asa.

Come on, reporter, are you serious? Asking a bonsai expert about Asashoryu is akin to asking an Elvis expert about the U.S.-Iraqi War.  Regardless of the answer, it’s not going to carry much weight – and that’s not the expert’s fault.  It’s the reporter’s.

Monday arrived with the wide shows covering the “Asashoryu Shock.”  Apparently some producers were unable to come to grips with the fact that Asa would rather golf in Hawaii than be vilified in Tokyo.

JSA has shot itself in the head.  It might recover, but will it be any smarter?  It needs to recognize that foreigner rikishi view sumo as a professional sport.  It needs to admit that it needs foreigner rikishi to keep fans showing up.  It may try to encourage the promotion of Kotooshu or Baruto to yokozuna to expand the interest in Europe, but every champion from now on will have a question over his head:  What if Asa had been here?

The JSA wanted the crowds and the excitement, and Asa brought both. But he also behaved badly and threatened to own all sumo records – an unacceptable combination.  As the reporter Yokono said after the press conference — all the reporters were asking themselves what they would report on now that Asa was gone.  He will be missed.

Tiger’s Brand Recovery

Now that the shock and awe have worn off this story, let’s have a look at the Tiger Woods brand.  He was a living, global luxury brand. He may still be, but it will take time to recover the shine. Just a short a time ago, he was one of the most favorably viewed ad spokesmen of all-time with negatives at a saintly 8 percent, according to a USA Today pool.  Now his negatives have skyrocketed to 57 percent.

There was suspicion that prescription drugs and/or alcohol may have been factors in Mr. Wood’s slow-motion crash. We also have several women who say they had sex with him while he was married. A number of commentators say that Tiger’s off the course activities are nobody’s business, but his and his wife’s.  Tell that to Accenture, which erased all tracks of Tiger from its promotional material, after spending $50 million on tying its brand to his.

Tiger’s squeaky-clean image made millions from sponsorships. So it is the media’s business and ours as consumers that he should be called out for his actions.  Personally, I don’t begrudge him the celeb lifestyle, but he can’t cry about Accenture or any other corporation canceling his sponsorships.  He was sold as Mr. Clean Sportsman for mega-bucks and so he is fair game for the media hounds of hell to pursue.

In contrast, let’s look at Wilt Chamberlain, one of the most dominant professional basketball players ever.  Wilt could have done well — even in the segregated 60s –he had just manicured his reputation.  He didn’t. He was an avowed and unapologetic bachelor. He made his money playing basketball and the occasional Brut cologne ad.  Pick your poison: Be satisfied with what you make in sports, or build your brand and rake in the dough. But no whining if the brand you built is found to be nothing but fiction.

Tiger is undergoing treatment at a celeb clinic. This is the first step that many wayward stars have taken.  Regardless of whether it is sincere, this step takes the star out of the public view for a while.  After this, Tiger needs to go back to what made him famous in the first place: golf – and winning tournaments.  The public won’t forget, but when the spotlight again focuses on him, he will remind of us what we always like about him.

Tiger’s Tale: What he didn’t want to say

December 3, 2009

All day I have been providing multi-stream, multi-friend, media consultant commentary regarding the Tiger Woods’ School of Driving. As Water Cooler Chatter this has got to be one of the biggest stories of the year.  Does anybody remember last week’s big story – Sara Palin’s self-fictionalization, or even what looked to be this week’s story – the White House party crashers?

Let’s set aside the speculation over what he was doing and with who.  These are digressions from our lesson in media and crisis communications.  The Orlando Sentinel, a real newspaper that remarkably still employs reporters, has followed the story extensively and this is where most of the info is coming from.

Nov. 27, 2009: The day of the crash many stories emphasized the “heroics” of his wife, Elin Nordegren, for bashing a window to “rescue” Tiger from the vehicle.  The vehicle wasn’t burning.  The crash was the result of an odd, meandering, low-speed drive.  But, hey, everybody is called heroic these days.  I thought it was just hype, but now it looks more like it could have been an intentional distraction.

Glass cuts

Fast forward to today and Tiger’s infidelity apology, which answers one question, but doesn’t answer many others.  Have a look at the news photos:

  • No damage to the front windshield – so how did our driver, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, get cut and knocked out?
  • Why did his wife break not one, but two rear seat windows, when Tiger was sitting in the driver’s seat – left front?
  • Wouldn’t she first try the door, which appears undamaged, and then break one of the front windows?
  • Which leads us back to Tiger’s facial cuts – if not from the windshield and not from the rear windows, from where?

Bad driving

Look at the photos of the house and driveway, and the map showing the path of Tiger’s Cadillac Escalade.  At 30 mph, he slowly drove through hedges, over a curb, then a fire hydrant, and into a tree.  This is not the path of a man going out for a drive, nor even the path of a really bad driver.  This is the path of a driver who should not be anywhere near a car.  Cops say alcohol wasn’t a factor, so what was a factor? Fear?  If so, wouldn’t he drive a lot faster?  Or was he semi-conscious from being hit in the head with a golf club?

According to the cops he was out for six minutes after he hit the tree.   Looking at the map, we should be grateful that it was 2:30 a.m. otherwise there may have been pedestrians or cars in the Escalade’s path.

Free Advice

Making up a story makes your scandal more interesting, not less.  What Tiger should have done was come straight with the story.   That’s easier said than done, of course.   When you have a scandal, the best thing you can do is tell your side of the story as accurately as you can.   Making something up, as we have seen, is throwing blood in the water.   The piranhas will come and leave only bones.

Tiger’s first statement should have been similar to this:  “I had an accident after a serious argument with my wife.  We are now sorting things out through counseling.  In these kinds of situations the need for privacy is crucial….”  This would have calmed the media monster, for a little while.   However, he didn’t want to do that for two reasons – to hide his infidelity and protect his wife from suspicion of domestic abuse.