Tiger Woods exercised his power as a celebrity Sunday by embarrassing the Florida Highway Patrol for the third straight day - in refusing an interview request. Woods’ agent now says his client is refusing to meet with the authorities at all.
(Nike support ensures that other sponsors, like Accenture, won’t bail on Woods)
There’s a possibility that the FHP will indeed back off and issue Woods some sort of traffic citation, even if it suspects a domestic disturbance between Woods and wife Elin Nordegren precipitated the “accident”. But while the public may soon forget that debacle thanks to Woods’ non-cooperation, the story of his alleged affair is just getting started.
The woman accused of a tryst with Woods, Rachel Uchitel, is claiming the National Enquirer report is false and has indicated she may sue the mag for defamation. Today she flew to Los Angeles to meet with high profile attorney Gloria Allred. If Uchitel formally enlists the services of Allred, you can bet she’ll soon turn up on Larry King and every other prominent electronic media outlet.
(’Tell Octomom to hold my calls, Larry King here we come!’)
Though Uchitel is meeting with Allred under the pretense of denying the Enquirer’s charges, the fact that she’ll be all over the media indefinitely will keep the alleged affair in the public eye, further damaging Woods’ credibility. That is unless Woods himself forcefully denies the story.
Besides a “vehement” denial to the Enquirer from an unnamed attorney for Woods, the golfer has been silent about the affair. Rather ironic considering his wife reportedly attacked him after learning of the Enquirer story. That domestic issue, according to TMZ.com, lead to Woods’ car accident.
You would think that if TMZ.com’s report on the cause of the wreck was true, Woods would be falling all over himself to deny the Enquirer account.
What’s the next move for Woods? Thanks to his biggest sponsor Nike, it very well could be no move.
The apparel and shoe company has already lined up behind Woods in support. That’s a huge shot of credibility for the golfer with his other sponsors. Without Nike’s support, perhaps other lower-profile sponsors might be apt to pull the plug on endorsement deals with Woods if the golfer didn’t show up to his tournament next week - and continued to refuse to publicly address the accident and the Enquirer story.
It also occurred to me that perhaps Nike is helping to advise Woods in his current situation.
Nike’s move may have given Woods cover to remain out of public sight indefinitely, and help ensure that his hundreds of millions in other endorsement agreements remain intact.