How much should you know?

Yes, they are in the public eye, and yes your dollars go toward their salaries. But, just what should your right to know be?

Within the past few days, golfer Tiger Woods and Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore had their personal lives go public. Woods, with the holiday car accident, that might have been triggered by an alleged affair, and Sizemore, for nude photos of himself to his girlfriend now on the Internet.

As a journalist, I want to know as much as I can, but the off-the-field behavior would have to impact his performance as an athlete or his relationship with the public. If image is such that they capitalize on endorsements with their image, and that image becomes tainted, then it should be out there for all to see. In Woods’ case, he already pulled out of a tournament. He’s a corporate spokesman; his image gets him commercial money. That image is now on the line, and because of it, the events of that night should be made public.

As much as he would like it, there are no mulligans for Woods.

If Sizemore gets heckled to where he loses concentration and it hurts his play, yeah, that would count, also. He’s also the Indians’ most visible – no pun intended – player. The team sells tickets because of Sizemore’s play and image.

I get comments all the time from people telling me why their personal lives are an issue, and my response it that above and that people read that stuff. Woods was the number one topic on Google over the weekend.

So, tell me why or why not an athlete’s private lives should be made public.

11 thoughts on “How much should you know?

  1. I got to say I disagree completely that if someone trades on his “image” therefore I get to know everything I want to know about the person’s life.

    So because Tiger, Oprah, A-Rod or Lincecum have a public image I get to know every intimate detail of their lives? I get to know when they have a fight with their wives, when they act stupidly with their friends, when they got caught kissing a hot girl they met at a club? No. I truly think that some of the laws that other countries have protecting this type of information is important.

    I don’t care that people want to know this stuff, to me that is irrelevant. It shouldn’t be a trade off that someone can do the thing that they are really good at and enjoy, or get to have a normal life where they don’t have to worry about a slimeball photographer camping out in their pushes for a candid photo of you.

    Now obviously, a public fact like getting in an accident like that at the end of your driveway is going to come out and be public fodder and that is just an unavoidable fact and there isn’t much wrong with that. But does Tiger “owe” it to his fans to tell them every juicy detail that lead up to that event? Why would he?

    He should be able to say quite simply I was having an argument with my wife and was not acting as rationally as I probably should have and an accident occurred. You don’t need to know that I was arguing over an infidelity or a burnt pot roast, as that has nothing to do with what happened.

    And you certainly don’t get to hack your way into my girl friend’s account and post lurid photos of me because someone would like to read it. You certainly shouldn’t be able to have 3000 cameras in someones face because they stepped out of a Pizza Hut or have your every moment posted to You Tube while you are on a road trip.

  2. In this day and age if you are a public figure your life is an open book.

    I disagree with that, but that is the way it is. Just as Jack Kennedy’s indiscretions were not revealed but Clinton’s was. You can make an argument that these actions relate to his judgement as the chief executive but they are not directly part of his duties.

    The same with entertainers/ballplayers. But the money they make is a direct function of their image which in large measure is how they comport themselves as heroes.

    A hero is supposed to stand up and face the music when he/she screws up. They are supposed to provide concrete examples of the right way to do things.

    This of course can be inversely proportional to your earning power. It may also get you fired.

  3. JamesSC (1): Woods makes millions because of his image, thought to be squeaky clean. But, what may have started as something behind closed doors has spilled onto the streets. I don’t care if Woods did or did not have an affair. I do care if he is a victim of domestic violence, and who is to say Woods wasn’t lucky and didn’t hit an oncoming car and not a tree.-JD

  4. If I buy something with a player’s name sponsoring it, and that guy beats his wife, or is in an accident driving while taking something I damn well want to know. If that company doesn’t cancel after said offense goes public the way I can stop buying is if I know the offense and can make an intelligent decision. Woods refusal to tell what happened can only lead us to beleive the worst, because if he was just going out early on black Friday to get a good deal on something at Walmart or Target he would have said so. So what is he doing that’s illegal that we shouldn’t know in his egotistical opinion? Arrests and traffic accidents are not a private matter. Tiger Woods was in an accident that required public officials to go to the scene to help him out and the police needed to spend money on the investigation. His refusal to cooperate should be made public and he should be villified for it. the lame excuse that its not required by law is pathetic coming from a guy hell bent on sucking every penny he can from the public.
    Sizemore’s case is different. If the guy in this modern era was dumb enough to pose nude for his girl, then he was a jerk… He didn’t break any laws… I don’t condemn stupid.

  5. Derek Jeter has been named SI’s Sportsman of the Year. He is the 56th honoree and the first Yankee to ever win this award. In 2009, he led the Yankees to their fifth World Series title in his 14 full seasons, and was selected not only for his work on the field, but also his work in the community.

    The game of baseball is embraced by Derek Jeter – 24 hours a day. It is true that since joining the Yankees in 1995 Derek has been the same person, on and off the field. Yes, he is the gentleman who kisses the ladies on the cheek when he meets them and they also notice his manners when they are ushered to the Yankee Stadium mound to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

    While waiting for his turn at bat, he often gives a baseball to a child or two, and gets a big smile from them. He is always polite, almost a lost art with professional sportsmen.

    Derek Jeter has always presented himself with class; he does numerous good works for the community with his Turn 2 Foundation, which is one of the most efficient, effective foundations of its kind; and he’s extremely generous with not just his money but with his time, which in many cases is more valuable.

    He also had another signature year on the field in 2009.

    However, when he receives all these honors no one ever mentions Jeter’s parents. A biracial couple who raised two exceptional children in Kalamazoo, Michigan by setting standards and trusting in their children’s judgment as well, I say let’s give an honorable mention to Charles and Dorothy Jeter who did the work that parents are supposed to do and in doing so, have enriched the lives of all of us who honor Derek Jeter today.

  6. So because Woods sponsors a toaster we get to know every detail of his life? Every argument he has, every good and bad thing he has ever done? That is a rather flawed logic in my opinion. The accident is public record, the details that have come out are all we should know about it. You can assume he is doing something illegal because god forbid one of the most private public men in the world doesn’t want to tell you every detail of his life that lead to a rather embarrassing moment, but I would say that is rather foolish.

    I once backed into my father in law’s car in my driveway, trust me I didn’t go telling everyone never mind the entire world every detail (or any detail) of that ordeal unless I had to. Trust me none of my co-workers know about that and that never made it to my facebook page. Woods is simply a private man who is not going to air all of his dirty laundry because you demand it in righteous indignation because he makes money.

    And this “image” argument is rather weak itself. You could use that to bring out any detail you want about any figure who has ever appeared in any form of public figure in the world and it makes just as little sense. Today’s media’s obsession with knowing every sordid detail of anything’s life because we idiots of the world love to read gossip BS about anyone and everyone but ourselves is a tarnish on journalism not its purpose.

  7. #3, if he hit an oncoming car instead of a tree it would have been no different than the hundreds of other accidents that happen everyday in this world because some idiot happens to not be paying attention. I guess if that was the case some people would be happier because Woods would be obligated to share more of the “juicy story” to sell more newspapers, but other than that I don’t see how that changes much.

    Obviously Woods was being stupid here, I don’t need to know why to recognize that, he plowed into a fire hydrant and a tree in his own driveway. Since he was not under any form of intoxication, that might have been because he was distracted, having an arguement or whatever, but that isn’t something we get to know. He can certainly tell us if he wants to, but it IS a private matter and we don’t have any “right” to know it because he happens to make a lot of money.