For Tiger, Silence is Not So Golden

December 1st, 2009

There are plenty of questions revolving around the mysterious and sensational Tiger Woods car “crash” from early Saturday morning. Was he under the influence? Is his wife Elin furious at him for an affair? Did he have an affair? Is Elin a golf club-wielding nut job? This is just the tip off the iceberg.

In addition to the questions, there is plenty of advice – He should talk!  He should clam up!  He should bribe Elin with jewelry! Ohh wait… that was his idea.

But the big question that hovers over all of this like a TV news chopper is “should Tiger talk?” And the smart PR answer is “yes. A little.” Because Tiger has a squeaky clean image, he needs to make a show of honesty. He doesn’t have to tell the public a lot, but he needs to say something about being human, working on his marriage, blah, blah, blah. Just not as much as Letterman (although Dave’s apology seemed to work for him – he’s quirky, we know he’s quirky, so it worked).

Those around Tiger are helping his case. In an interview today in the New York Post, the alleged other woman sounds pretty convincing in her denials. And, very importantly, Nike, Gatorade and Gillette are standing by Woods as a big-money endorser.  Those companies have the inside word and if they have said they’re sticking with Woods, it means something.

But, still, Tiger needs to step up and say something publicly. Remember the two rules of crisis communication – 1. Validate concern. 2. Show action.

By speaking to the public and addressing the situation, he shows that he cares what the public thinks. He validates the concern. And then he needs to say that he’s going to disappear for a while and work on his marriage (or whatever is appropriate) – that’s the appropriate action.

Until then, TMZ will continue to be all over him and the TV choppers will continue to hover over his house.

Posted Under: Crisis Communications, Public Relations
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2 Responses to “For Tiger, Silence is Not So Golden”

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