In his legally crafted, delicately worded statement that only an attorney could love, Tiger Woods asks the public for privacy. Sorry, Tiger. There are too many questions about the accident early Friday morning about a figure way too famous, in a celebrity obsessed society, for that to happen. There’s only one way out of this and it doesn’t seem of interest.
This is a PR story that changed in the blink of an eye. Because the first news reports, quoting a police report, said Woods was “seriously injured,” initial public relation quickly became “Pray For Tiger.” Once more details emerged, just hours later on Friday, public reaction turned to “What Is He Hiding?” For anyone who has driven a car (just about everyone), the story just doesn’t seem to be plausible.
Making PR matters worse for Woods – as of this writing, he has turned police away from his house twice, refusing to talk to them. He’s not legally required to answer any more of their questions. But, if one of our clients was involved in an “innocent” accident near their home, that they believed unnecessarily raised public suspicion, we would advise them to talk to police around the clock for days – whatever it takes to tell their story and deliver their message so the truth can be heard and remembered.
But, alas, this is celebrity PR, which seems to always play by a different set of rules. In this case, it’s a statement that apparently some advisor hopes will “make it go away.” As Don noted on this blog just the other day, written statements, while sometimes necessary, tend to lead to more questions than they answer.
The simple advice here, as always, for anyone in the spotlight is to tell the truth, tell it quickly, tell it more than once if you have to and then move on. It’s easy to forget that we live in the most forgiving culture imaginable. If you make a mistake, admit it, apologize if necessary, then get on your way. Right now, Team Woods, instead of hiding behind a statement and hiding from police, should just talk and get it over with. The longer they don’t, the longer this story keeps going.