The problem with most people’s view of the Tiger Woods apology is they view it as making an apology — not as making amends.

There have been no shortage of critics of the Tiger Woods’ televised apology.

George Will said of it on ABC News, “if your problem is that your behavior has revealed your public persona to be a fake, you shouldn’t stage this grotesquely fake press conference.”  The folks at the industry publication “PR Junkie” had a field day.

It was awkward, and it felt like one of those hostage videos when someone is forced, at gunpoint, to read a statement damning his or her nation and culture.

Even gold medal skier Lindsay Von got into the act.

alg_tiger_woods_pressNot only do we have a plethora of experts on public apologies, it seems that a good portion of those experts have about as much compassion and forgiveness in them as Nurse Ratched.

Clearly there’s a good portion of the public out there who never think along the lines of “there but for the grace of God go I.”

Tiger Woods is a dog that is down and there sure seems to be a lot of kicking going on.

Good for him?  Not really.  Good for us?  Absolutely not.

I look at it very differently and have my wife to thank for that.  Yes, my wife feels bad for Tiger Woods.   You might think that wives would be the first to cast a stone at Woods.  But you see my wife is a social worker.  She sees stuff like Tiger Woods all the time.  Much worse, actually.  She not only works with people that have addiction problems, she works with their victims as well.  She’s no softie when it comes to this stuff but I’d argue that she has more real world experience — and perhaps even more moral standing — to comment on this type of behavior than do Mr. Will or Mrs. Von.

Her reaction to this video was (and I’m paraphrasing):

This is a man in therapy.

His apology is not an apology, it is an effort to make amends.  Go read the twelve step process.  He is on the middle steps.  He went through each group of people that he hurt.  One by one.  Apologized to each.  Said it would be actions not words.  He’s doing exactly what he is supposed to do.

Let me tell you how awful the type of therapy is that he is going through.  It is humiliating.  It is degrading.  You have to accept that you’re a pervert.  A predator.  A sicko.  It isn’t pretty.  He’s not apologizing in the sense that people know it.  He’s trying to make amends to those he hurt.  He’s doing what he’s supposed to do.

I Feel for him.

That, my friends, is the attitude of compassion.

Criticize the apology and Woods all you want.  What was most interesting to me was that his focus WAS NOT golf, the Masters, getting back to the game. His timetable appeared to be in function of his ability to climb the twelve steps of recovery.  And I saw Friday’s televised event as him working on steps 8 and 9:

“make a list of all persons we had harmed, and be willing to make amends them all; and make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

Can’t fault a man for that.

In fact, isn’t that something everyone should consider?