Tiger’s been compared to a ton of athletes who jeopardized their financial well beings with idiot moves in their personal lives. Michael Vick is the most recent dumbass to drop the ball, losing out on huge contracts across the board that generated a significant chunk of his revenue. It’s been no secret that Tiger takes in over $100 million per year in sponsorship deals alone, and financial pundits have been squawking Dixie about what Tiger stands to lose from his wallet. There’s one sponsor, however, that is standing behind their man: Nike.
The company that tells everyone to “Just Do it” sponsors a lot of vagrants, and that doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on the company. Nike’s a company that’s been blasted for child labor in the past and remains an industry juggernaut in spite of those allegations. Most notably, Nike is not scared of the association with Tiger, which says a lot for companies like Accenture which are severing ties already.
Yet it would be hypocritical of a company like Nike to turn its back on Woods and I praise the company for standing by one of their leading men. This is company that sponsors known trouble makers like Carmelo Anthony (drug and gang affiliations), Rasheed Wallace (known jackass), Alex Rodriguez (hooker lover extraordinaire), Marvin Harrison (connections to nightclub shootings), the aforementioned Michael Vick (dog murderer), Kobe Bryant (rapist), Shawne Merriman (steroids), Ronaldo (transsexual hookers) and many, many more.
It’s not like any of these connections has hindered Nike’s financial progress. It’s also noteworthy that their premier athlete, Michael Jordan, is a known gambling addict and a possible infidel on the same lines of Tiger (he was probably just much better at hiding it).
There’s a stark difference in Tiger’s professional life than that of Kobe, Jordan or Vick. For one, Tiger doesn’t play on a team sport and he earns his winnings by playing. Since he’s taking an indefinite leave from golf to fix his “transgressions” and repair his horrific public reputation, money won’t be coming in from golf anytime soon. Not that we’re worried about Tiger’s wallet or anything; he’s one of the richest sports icons in history with an estimated value of $600 million or more.
Tiger’s biggest sponsors are Nike, AT&T, Electronic Arts (EA Sports), Cadillac, Tag Heuer and Proctor & Gamble (Gillette) and Gatorade. While all of these companies have halted distribution of ads and campaigns that feature Tiger, it remains to be seen whether or not they will follow Accenture’s blazing path.
The facts have not all come out, and I refuse to take the one-sided stories of porn stars, sluts, harlots and attention whores as the gospel during Tiger Watch. Major corporations are making their choice to weather the storm and maintain relationship with Tiger. Nike especially is famous (and infamous) for standing by characters that stray from the path, and Tiger’s recent headlines are no exception. Nobody is perfect, and while Tiger’s camp should be fired immediately for handling this situation so piss poorly, at least Tiger still has the backing of his sponsors.
For now, the sponsors have made their collective choices and they’re giving Tiger the benefit of the doubt until all the shoes have fallen. For Tiger, the best cure is to lay low, let the hurricane die down…and then get back to winning on the golf course. For his part, his path is going to be harder than any other athlete because he plays in a single’s sport that offers zero financial guarantees. Of course, putting his career in jeopardy is his own fault. If his family can forgive him eventually, then his fans will too.
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