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Tiger Woods has had quite a rollercoaster week. First, tabloids began buzzing about an alleged affair with New York club hostess Rachel Uchitel, which she vehemently denied. Then, the day after Thanksgiving, he crashed his car with speculation that he and wife Elin Nordegren had a physical altercation following a confrontation about his alleged affair.
Yet the real bombshell didn't drop until Dec. 2, when Usmagazine.com revealed that yet another woman -- 24-year-old cocktail waitress and reality-show contestant Jaimee Grubbs -- had spilled the details of her alleged affair with the golf star, including racy text messages and an incriminating voicemail. “My wife went through my phone and, uh, may be calling you,” Woods says in the message. “So if you can, please take your name off that, and uh, just have it as a number on the voicemail. Just have it as a telephone number. You gotta do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye."
Without directly admitting he had an affair, Woods issued an apology on his Web site later that day. "I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart," he writes. "I have not been true to my values and the behavior my family deserves. I am not without faults and I am far short of perfect."
Woods also issued a plea for “the right to some simple, human measure of privacy” in light of the situation. “But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one's own family," he wrote. "Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn't have to mean public confessions.”
This all begs the question: What is the responsibility of celebrities to publicly atone for their sins? Is it their duty to sit down with Barbara Walters and rehash the lurid details of their transgressions? Or take to the late-night show stage like David Letterman did earlier this fall when an extortion plot by a CBS employee led to him admitting doing “creepy things” with various female staffers of The Late Show?
After all, celebrities chose to pursue professions followed by the public and know full well they'll have fans who look to them for guidance on everything from what designers they wear to what it means to be a good sport. In fact, that's what endorsement deals -- of which Tiger has many -- are all about: courting the affection of the public. And after asking us to place so much trust in them, don't celebs who slip up owe their adoring public some explanation?
In a tell-all celebrity culture, it seems like just a matter of time before Woods will agree to talk about his extracurricular activities. But from Tiger's statement, it seems that day may not come. And the public will definitely feel shortchanged.
But in reality, the only people who really deserve to hear his mea culpa are those whom he’s hurt directly: his family. It doesn’t mean his responsibility to be a good person is any less great or that he hasn’t let down his fans by his behavior. He’ll inevitably pay the price privately -- and maybe even lose some endorsement deals along the way. But it's not really his obligation to share the story of his “personal failings” as he called them.
“I will strive to be a better person and the husband and father that my family deserves,” he writes on his Web site. And that’s the only true obligation he really has.
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Do you think celebrities have the responsibility to share the details of their personal failings? Chime in below!