Nike's New Tiger Woods Ad is Controversial... And Right

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Nike / Twitter - Tiger Woods -
Nike / Twitter
Tiger Woods finally regained his world number-one ranking this week, and Nike celebrated with an ad proclaiming, in Woods' own words, that "winning takes care of everything."

The ad was immediately controversial, with many critics saying that the ad implies that Woods' past sins -- he admitted to serial infidelity in 2009 -- are wiped away now that he's winning again. But isn't that basically true?

Tiger did indeed fall out of favor with the public after the cheating scandal hit, and as a result he lost many of his endorsement deals. But earlier this month we looked at Tiger's newfound winning touch, and considered the fact that many other athletes have recovered from worse scandals simply by playing well. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, for instance, was linked to a murder and only avoided jail time by testifying against two companions. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, admitted to cheating on his wife and was accused of sexual assault, though the charges were dropped.

Both athletes resumed their dominance of their respective sports, with Bryant winning two NBA championships since the charges were dropped and Lewis capping a hall-of-fame career with a Super Bowl championship. Lewis is now headed for an analyst job at ESPN; Bryant remains popular and largely kept his endorsement deals (including one with Nike).
Speaking of Tiger's endorsement prospects earlier this month, sports marketing expert Larry McCarthy told us, "We're extremely forgiving of [athletes] like Woods once they continue to play at the level they were at."

Not everyone has forgiven Tiger, as this controversy makes clear. And no one would suggest that his recent string of success somehow absolves him of his personal failings.

But the fact is that athletes are ultimately judged on performance, and barring a truly career-ending scandal -- Oscar Pistorius' murder charge or Lance Armstrong's admission of doping, for instance -- they can always get back in our good graces by performing well on the field.

Nike probably shouldn't have come right out and said so in their ad. And to be fair, the quote in question was initially uttered by Woods when he was asked whether he was preoccupied with his ranking.

But what Nike said was essentially correct: When it comes to sports, winning really does take care of everything.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at Matt.Brownell@teamaol.com, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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11 Comments

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a new diet

No mention of Michael Vick? Why not? It was truly hideous what he did to those dogs. What kind of a loser does that to a defenseless animal? Also, Vick is rich loser no less. Really messed up in the head people do those horrible things to animals and children. Disgusting. Certainly what Vick did is far worse than what Tiger did.

March 29 2013 at 1:29 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eaglemott

This is not a race issue that your trying to make it. The others you mention I don't care what color are just as guilty as Wood's. They all think there better than everyone else and there just jerks the whole bunch.

March 28 2013 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bohanna50

Oh, but Bill Clinton and David Letterman and your king Elvisget glorified for their adultery right?. What a hypocritical civilization. How convenient as usual by pointing out the sins of a minority and making it seem as its so unforgivable. Please,,,, enough of the double-standards. Or is civilization implying that its ok for a whites to do these immoral and in-ethical acts because its expected and so easily forgiven and brushed under the rug. Why expect Tiger to be any different than most of you cheats and liars? Why hold him to such a higher standard than most of you can even handle and all your idols have failed at?

March 28 2013 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cozzod

great Ad, Great Golfer. the rest of you can eat your heart out

March 28 2013 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
hollemantom

NO CLASS TIGER, YOU MEAN?????????

March 28 2013 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Elizabeth Voetberg

My son look sup to him as a golfer and does not idolize him outside of that. He understands his infidelity were immoral. My son is 10yrs old and understands that. My son also believes Tiger will find himself and forgive himself for what he has done to his family. These are not my words these are my sons.

March 28 2013 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rick

When will we stop glorifying these losers? I don't golf, or follow the game, but I hope he fails as a golfer but succeeds eventually as a human.

March 28 2013 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rick's comment
Warden Edwards

too late to fail. it is kind of like you saying now I hope bush dont become president.

March 28 2013 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
malayangtao

So what if he cheated on his wife. He ended up having 15 mistresses. This is the dream of every heterosexual joe six pack working class guy in America. Go Tiger enjoy your life and money while you are young because when you get old it will all be over.

March 28 2013 at 10:26 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
edwalters6

Tiger... never had any class... never will.

March 28 2013 at 10:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to edwalters6's comment
Warden Edwards

he's best golfer in the world, young handsome and rich. who needs freaking class? class like fuzzy i bet you're thinking.

March 28 2013 at 5:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply