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You Be the Expert: Grading Tiger Woods’ apology February 22, 2010

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Tiger Woods came out of hiding, and rehab, recently to offer a major apology to his friends, family, and fans. Woods was clear about his sins, saying, “I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated. What I did was not acceptable.” Moreover, he stated that he would finish rehab, and look to his Buddhist faith to improve his life. As he suggested:

Buddhism teaches that a craving for things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously I lost track of what I was taught.”

PR experts and critics in the media were split on evaluations of the effectiveness of the apology. Peter Madden from Advertising Age, for instance, said the apology was “highly-crafted” and “highly -effective.” Alexi Mostrous of the Times Online, however, argued that the delivery of the apology was atrocious, and Arianna Huffington contended that it was simply too much of a standard PR move.

To see the apology yourself, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Many contend that because Woods’ sins were related to his private life, he was not obligated to give an apology. Is this assumption correct? How might have Woods hurt his sponsors, business partners, and fans, even though his misconduct was sort of a private matter?

2.  What are the standard features of a public apology? What strategies did Woods use in his speech?

3.  In your own opinion, was Woods’ apology effective? Why, or why not?



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