Up until the sex-scandal involving dozens of porn stars and other women, leading to the media firestorm surrounding the former world #1, Tiger Woods was one of the most uninteresting and dry athletes off the course, court, field, ice, whatever. You could say that Tiger has no personality or sense of humor and that wouldn’t be close to accurate enough to describe him.
But perhaps this personal crisis has allowed him to loosen up a little bit and maybe because he’s no longer the world’s #1 or even #2, he doesn’t feel like he’s under quite as much pressure. Amazingly, Tiger Woods not only used his Twitter account… he not only responded to a fan, but he cracked a joke! Not to mention, he knew about the Dave Chappelle “Racial Draft” skit and apparently liked it!
Here is the twitter exchange:
I almost fell out of my chair to actually see Tiger respond to a fan and to make a pretty funny joke! I’m extremely impressed with his knowledge of the Chappelle Show…
Here is the original skit. This is the best version I could find:
Tiger Woods has certainly suffered an incredible hit to his image due to his sexual escapades while married to Elin Nordegren. Last Thanksgiving, we witnessed one of the most amazing and rapid falls from grace in American history and even despite Tiger’s track record, many of his sponsors have distanced themselves.
Actually, the only sponsor who has really stood by his side has been Nike. Nearly ever other sponsor has at least significantly distanced themselves, if not completely severed the relationship. EA Sports, makers of popular sports gaming titles such as Madden NFL Football and Tiger Woods PGA Tour, even went so far as to remove Tiger from the cover of the game for the first time ever.
Despite their efforts to distance themselves slightly from the golf mega-star, his influence apparently cannot be removed from the game. According to a Deadspin article, a British woman who created a player within the game to match her appearance was startled when she finally teed it up to play with her own likeness. According to this woman, after hours of creating her own image, she found that the player wore only short shorts. Yep, the female player within the game was topless and appeared with incredible anatomic accuracy!
Check out the The Sun which is the original source of the story for the NSFW pictures and more details about the story. According to The Sun, it is believed that a programmer of the game put this little “glitch” into the game as a prank to mock Woods following his sex-capades last year.
EA Sports has apparently stated that this was the work of an independent hacker and that there is no way that this could have been a part of their release. But with my experience with games, there are so many hidden tricks and glitches that developers and programmers add that it wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit if this was a little “hidden trick” placed in the game for some fun. I’m not sure that it was meant to be included in the public release, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was placed in the game for some fun by the development team.
Either way, it appears that even though EA Sports tried to distance themselves from Tiger, it’s clear that his fingerprints are ALL OVER this game!
We’re all familiar with the SportsCenter commercials that started years ago that featured various athletes in mostly funny skits. At the time, it just appeared to be a great way to get exposure for the athletes and to provide a little humor with the sports programming. But little did we know that it would foretell the beginning of the end of ESPN’s credibility.
ESPN is certainly the worldwide leader in sports entertainment. They are massive and have an inordinate amount of leverage and power in the sporting world. They can actually make or break an athlete with their programming. And that’s the problem. They literally have the ability to sway public perception about an athlete with their “down your throat” “24-7″ programming and Capitol Hill-like spin.
It has gotten progressively worse since ESPN was acquired by the entertainment giant, Disney. For anyone even a little familiar with Disney’s programming and marketing power, just reference Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, and Justin Bieber. I sincerely apologize for having to mention these people. Please, please forgive me. But this type of marketing that Disney has employed to force these “talents” upon the world and create their stardom, not based on talent, but based on the enormous resources allocated to them and the constant and almost brainwashing programming.
For ESPN, the downward spiral began well before the acquisition by Disney as the foundation was laid when they started to get into bed with athletes. Once they stopped reporting sporting news and started creating news, spin and more of an entertainment focus than a journalistic focus, it was all downhill. Once they entered into more of a business partnership relationship with athletes as opposed to a professional and journalistic relationship with athletes, the Axis of Evil was born.
Anyone with even a little objectivity can cite dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of incredible bias, spin, and inappropriately allocated programming towards ESPN favorites like Tiger Woods, Brett Favre, LeBron James, etc. There is no denying that each are incredible athletes. No argument, whatsoever. But there is also no denying the tremendous spin and bias that ESPN employs in regards to these players in order to maintain their “investment”. ESPN builds up these athletes’ popularity and stature so as to build a long-term audience. They then tailor their programming to be heavily dedicated to these people so it’s in their best interest to spin and alter perception to uphold these athletes’ stature, and keep public perception positive.
Just a handful of weeks ago, ESPN began an effort to control the damage to LeBron’s image after the fiasco that was “The Decision”. Not only did LeBron James’ image take an incredible hit due to his actions over the summer, but ESPN was called into question for their role in the debacle. ESPN not only dedicated its programming (as usual) and began heavy spin control to re-establish their “investment” as a positive figure in the NBA and in the sporting world in general, but they sent reporters and camera crews to Cleveland in an attempt to alter public perception.
They literally sent reporters to Cleveland prior to the beginning of the NBA season and asked a series of questions that were clearly in an attempt to re-allocate blame for “The Decision” and other LeBron mistakes on the City of Cleveland and Cavaliers fans (http://bit.ly/dks0cT). The questions also were a direct attempt to blame Cavaliers fans for the way LeBron James behaved. They also tried their best to portray Cavs fans as a bitter, ignorant, and uneducated fan base. It was consistent with LeBron’s recent marketing strategy to paint himself as a victim as they were also portraying him as a victim and they were making excuses for his behavior. As always, LeBron is never at fault, and he is never responsible for anything.
All of this is fine, and it’s actually a savvy and proven business strategy. The issue arises, however, when ESPN portrays itself as a news entity and as a credible journalistic source. It is clear that they’ve moved well past the arena of sporting news and journalistic credibility and have become almost solely an entertainment entity.
Looking back on it now, after we’ve seen the unprofessional, unethical, and inappropriate way ESPN has dealt with the likes of Tiger Woods, Ben Roethlisberger, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Lance Armstrong, and Brett Favre, this old commercial is strangely prophetic. ESPN has gone out of its way to try to protect these and other athletes. Examples include Brett Favre’s “Sext Scandal” with Jenn Sterger where information was literally available for months that it had occurred and they waited until the last possible minute in an attempt to not have to address it. Their editors pulled a story about LeBron in Vegas over the summer after they saw that it had some information that painted LeBron in a negative light (even though it was completely accurate and was completely consistent with the purpose of the story).
This type of behavior has been going on for years, seems to be getting worse, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The funny part about this commercial as well, is ESPN has a HUGE list of former commercials on their website, but I was unable to find this one on there. It appears that they pulled it, perhaps because it’s not as far fetched (or humorous) as it maybe once was.
In this commercial, Dwyane Wade is given “Final Cut” authority over his highlights. Funny at the time as it was clearly done in a joking and unrealistic manner, it is now sadly and strangely prophetic. Given LeBron James’ pull over how ESPN reports on him, this type of thing isn’t all that impossible anymore. And that’s sad. There is no question that LeBron James’ people got the Vegas story pulled much in the same way he had Nike confiscate the Jordan Crawford footage. You can’t tell me that Tiger, Favre, etc. don’t have a forum by which to provide “feedback” that steers the programming and discussion at least to some extent.
Favre, for instance, has multiple ESPN reporters on speed-dial that he uses to leak whatever information suits him at the time. He knows they will run with whatever information he wants at any time and dedicate an incredible amount of programming. Whether it be retirement, un-retirement, injury, etc. The last time he “retired” and sent a text to a teammate saying he was done, ESPN literally dedicated a full day of programming to discuss the move and in tribute to Favre’s career. Does this seem appropriate or ethical?
This particular commercial had to have come out at least 4 or 5 years ago in a time where this did seem far fetched and in good fun. Unfortunately now, given the dark road ESPN has traveled down, it’s not so far fetched any longer. Take a look. You’ve probably seen it before, but when I saw it again with a different perspective, it kind of made my skin crawl.
Star player, Joel Monaghan of the Canberra Raiders, which is a part of Australia’s National Rugby League, has recently quit the team and forfeited his contract due to a sex scandal. The National Rugby League is the highest level of professional Rugby in the world and is the equivalent of the NFL. Now, a star athlete getting into trouble over a sex scandal isn’t all that uncommon or shocking… Just look at Tiger Woods or Brett Favre or Kobe Bryant or Ben Roethlisberger. But for an athlete to quit the team and walk away from his contract is a bit uncommon.
So what in the world did this guy do? What sex scandal could be THAT bad to cause this kind of fallout?
Well, Mr. Monaghan got all Frat Boy Wasted with his buddies and at a party decided it would be a good idea to have sex with a dog. That’s right… with a DOG! Apparently he and his teammates were enjoying a few beverages at an end of the season party and he thought it would be a good idea to violate his teammate’s Labrador. There are pictures circulating the internet which I haven’t seen and I won’t post that one of his teammates took with a camera phone. Maybe they thought there would be a market for doggy porn?
Obviously this is a sick and twisted act and it’s completely disgusting and reprehensible for someone to abuse a helpless animal. Not only that, but what kind of sick freak wants to bang a dog!? I guess these rugby guys are a different breed…