SBD/Issue 83/Sports & Society

Tiger, Breaking From The Norm, Speaks At Obama Inauguration

The Usually Apolitical Woods 
Speaks At Obama Ceremony
Golfer Tiger Woods made a rare foray into the world of politics yesterday, as he spoke at the Lincoln Memorial as part of President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration festivities. Woods addressed the importance of the military and said, "Each day -- and particularly on this historic day -- we honor the men and women in uniform who serve our country and protect our freedom." Woods: "They travel to the dangerous corners of the world, and we must remember that for every person who is in uniform, there are families who wait for them to come home safely. I am honored that the military is such an important part, not just of my personal life, but of my professional life as well. The golf tournament we do each year here in [DC] is a testament to those unsung heroes. ... Just as they have stood tall for our country -- we must always stand by and support the men and women in uniform and their families" (Mult, 1/18).

HEAR MY ROAR: ESPN.com's Jason Sobel wrote under the header, "Another Impressive First For Tiger." Woods for years had "remained apolitical to a fault, effortlessly shooing away questions regarding government affiliations and legislative decisions with the same deft touch he shows at Augusta National each April." However, with agreeing to speak at the inauguration event, perhaps Woods is "ready to change, to exercise his power in more influential ways." Woods' speech "might prove to be a pivotal moment for our nation," and could also "serve as a turning point for its greatest golfer" (ESPN.com, 1/16). In N.Y., Larry Dorman wrote by "appearing at an event celebrating the inauguration of the first black President, Woods obviously has decided to mark another first in his own life" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/17). ESPN Radio 980 DC's Al Galdi said, “Getting up on the Barack Obama bandwagon right now is a pretty safe move in terms of public reaction ... but to see Tiger do this is pretty surprising." Washington Post reporter Michael Lee: “This is a great step for him to come out and make some sort of statement.” Comcast SportsNet’s Russ Thaler: “It’s a safe first step into the political forum” (“Washington Post Live,” Comcast SportsNet, 1/16).

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