Tiger’s Voice: A Universal Roar

By Michael Tillery
Updated: July 19, 2005

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods

NEW YORK — Tiger Woods is one of the few athletes competing today that are hall of famers the second they graced our wanting memories. Ken Griffey Jr., Michael Vick, and LeBron James are three whose legacies are entrenched in their respective halls of fame regardless of statistics.

As great as these athletes are and will become, they can’t achieve the universal acceptance that Tiger will find regardless of their athletic accomplishments

Race is obviously a factor in anything that entertains us, from music, to Hollywood, and the subject relevant here, sports. When has there been an athlete that has so much ambiguity? He amazingly transcends race and its fastly becoming primitive meaning.

Scutiny is what drives the media to analyze African American athletes more closely. The media wants to test our survival skills in an assumed vulnerable moment. Does Peyton Manning have to answer the same questions that Donovan McNabb does? No! McNabb has tried to shed the “black quarterback” stereotype and because of his success on the field, the media will have to pursue a different angle when attempting to bait him for the sake of a story.

He escapes the racial limelight, even when moronic opinions of him,i.e. Rush Limbaugh, are futile in attempting to light a racial firestorm. This is why Tiger has done a masterful job of prohibiting the public to essentially label him simply based on race.

In terms of race, we should grasp how paramount this strategic “coming out” that Tiger has exhibited. Pop Warner quarterbacks won’t be saddened by their “demotion” to wide receiver or running back.

Shortstops of mind won’t be pushed into the outfield because they are lean, strong, have a big arm and run fast. Power forwards with a soft jump shot and a magnificent handle won’t be pushed into the post for the entire game. More importantly, the age old question of “What have you done for the African American community?” won’t be so quick to jump off of Jim Gray’s lips.

All Tiger is saying is “Don’t judge me!” He is not saying that he doesn’t care about African American mothers who struggle everyday, or castoff politics that don’t affect the African American community at large in any way, shape or form.

Open our minds.

See that ambiguity is not all together assimilation. I, for one, do share in assuming Tiger’s responsibility to African American kids. Thai, Native American, Chinese, as well as Caucasian writers share the same exact responsibility. If they can’t find themselves to share in this simplistic nuance, they will be primatively lost in the future of a new understanding of tolerance.