The habitually apolitical Tiger Woods looks to be casting his lot with what’s being described as a very “political” ad from his sponsor-in-chief, Nike.
First, here’s the ad…
Was something missing from the ad for you? It’s worth noting Woods himself does not appear in the “Equality” commercial. Instead, Team Tiger pressed the caps lock and fired off this tweet the same day as the commercial launch.
IF WE CAN BE EQUALS IN SPORT, WE CAN BE EQUALS EVERYWHERE. pic.twitter.com/NJCNn3nzcC
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) February 12, 2017
And while there’s plenty of dramatic imagery, I think it’s important to ask: What’s really being advocated for here? Is this message really revolutionary? Would many argue with what Nike is saying? Sports are fundamentally meritocratic, that is, you get where you get based on talent and nothing else. The message of “Equality” seems to be the world should function the same way, regardless of political orientation. Few would argue with that message.
In discussing equality, it would have been far more impactful to see, say, some show of solidarity with Muslims, who are facing a wave of negative public opinion and attempted institutionalized discrimination. I mean, the statement from Nike looks great, but it’s kind of a loaded gun that when pulled produces a BANG flag, rather than a bullet.
What if Tiger had said no to any association with the ad? As a minority and the face of Nike golf since the division’s inception, Woods would have been conspicuously absent. There is an argument to be made that the tweet represents the bare minimum he could do to be part of the campaign, just like his recent “come together” remarks were the bare minimum he could say when asked about the current climate in the United States.
And of course, with Donald Trump, his policies, and the surge of anti-immigrant sentiment sweeping the country as the elephant in the room, it’s worth remembering Woods recently teed it up with the Donald.
While Woods may be promoting “equality” by being associated with this Nike ad, he seems to be taking a very neutral stance. The media hasn’t been nice to him in the past, so staying out of politics is probably a smart move for this sports icon.
The people who would probably love to see him publicly abused again..