It Wasn’t An Apology: Tiger and the Tampon
My heart goes out to the groundskeepers.
Inevitably, fairways and greens are about to be absolutely littered with women’s hygiene products.
Tampons, mostly, but there will be golfers who rummage under their bathroom sinks only to find a long-forgotten sanitary pad, or their wife’s menstrual cup (those things are expensive, guys! Don’t do it!).
All because Tiger Woods made a joke – a “joke”- that we’ve all heard by now.
I’m sure you have an opinion about it. Everyone does.
If that opinion is, “Boys will be boys! Lighten up!” then you’ve probably stopped reading already.
If you thought, “Ehh, it was dumb, but there’s worse things happening in the world,” then let’s you and I have a chat.
We all can agree on the implication of Woods slipping a tampon into fellow golfer Justin Thomas’s hand after outdriving him.
He was suggesting that Thomas was playing “like a girl.”
The implication being that women are inferior to men. That we’re weaker. That to play like a woman is a bad thing, worthy of public mockery.
It’s insulting, and at a time when women’s rights are being stripped away, it’s a bad look from the sport’s most famous athlete.
As a living legend who’s received more passes in his life than Saquon Barkley, I was most disappointed not in the joke but in Woods’ refusal to apologize.
Because here’s where a man shows how strong or weak he really is.
When given the opportunity to reflect on how a misogynistic gesture from golf’s most recognizable face might make women feel like there’s no place for them in the sport, Woods dodged.
All of the news headlines that trumpeted “Tiger Woods Apologizes for Tampon Prank”…no! He didn’t!
There was no apology!
What he said was:
“If I offended anybody, it was not the case, it was just friends having fun. As I said, if I offended anybody in any way, shape or form, I’m sorry. It was not intended to be that way. It was just we play pranks on one another all the time and virally I think this did not come across that way, but between us it was – it’s different.“
Women, we’re just too sensitive!
It was friends having fun! At women’s expense! By calling them weak!
Try using “I’m sorry you were offended” in your next argument. See how that goes.
The bottom line? It’s not weakness to grow and to learn. Or to apologize when you’ve acted like a dick. Even if you didn’t realize you were acting like a dick at the time. Especially if you didn’t realize you were acting like a dick at the time.
The next time you’re called out, take a beat. Talk with a friend. Or your therapist. Reflect on how you hurt the person who called you out for your behavior.
If you have ever made a point to tell a woman you voted for Hillary, please know that your work is not done.
Our generation is supposed to be the one that’s learned. We should know better than to excuse locker room talk that happens out in the open, on camera, for the world to see.
Now, it’s up to all of us to do better.