How much do we want to know?

Sometimes it might be better to keep superstar’s private lives private

Tiger Woods is, arguably (although, arguably, you can argue anything, so this is just a throwaway phrase — but I digress), the most popular athlete on the planet. He makes an ungodly amount of money. He’s the best golfer of his time. And yet, we’ve never known anything about his personal life.

That is, until last week.

At about 2 a.m. Friday, Woods crashed his SUV into a fire hydrant and tree in his neighbors yard and suffered minor injuries. If one believes the Internet (and when has the Internet ever given us reason to doubt it? Wait, don’t answer that question) then Tiger and his wife, Elin, got in an argument about Tiger’s relationship with another woman (as reported by the always trustworthy National Enquirer) and Tiger left the house, wanting to get away from the situation.

As he was leaving, Elin took a golf club and started banging his car with it. Tiger, distracted, then crashed the car.

Juicy stuff.

Now, everyone and their mother are counseling Tiger to “come clean” and tell the public the salacious details it wants to hear. We deserve the right to know, Tiger, after everything we’ve done for you.

This is all a bunch of hooey.

Tiger, just keep doing what you’re doing. You don’t have to tell anyone what really happened.

As a matter of fact, I don’t want to know.

Why do we need to know the flaws of our heroes? What do we gain from it?

For we all have flaws, and we all have skeletons in the closet that we do not want anyone else to know about it. As guitarist Russell Hammond (played brilliantly by Billy Crudup) says in the classic 2001 movie “Almost Famous,” “Some of us, we have girlfriends back home, you know. Some of us have wives. And some of the people you meet on the road are really amazing people…But some of the stuff that happens, it’s good for a few people to know about as opposed to, say, a million people.”

My sentiments exactly. I don’t want to know when Tiger screws up. I don’t want to know about Ben Roethlisberger’s off-season escapades. I don’t want to know what Kobe Bryant was doing at Eagle, Colo.

If The Collegian reported on my transgressions, I wouldn’t be too pleased. I wouldn’t get anything out of it. You, the reader, wouldn’t get anything out of it. It is pointless information.

Why is it any different for our sports heroes? In the old days, (jeez, I sound like my father) reporters protected athletes from this kind of stuff (and for that matter, politicians as well — I’m looking at you, JFK). It wasn’t the kind of thing that needed to be written about. Mickey Mantle was a legendary partier and womanizer. He famously hit home runs while still being hung over from the debauchery of the night before. And whom would it help if people knew about it at the time?

Tiger, stay silent if you want to. You owe us nothing. We don’t need to know about your personal life, just as you don’t need to know about mine. Just keep on chasing Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.

Although, you might want to take a few swinging lessons from your wife. I hear she swings a mean 9-iron.

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