Every choice has a consequence. That’s a statement I make in every presentation. How true! Tiger Woods, celebrity spokesperson and golf avatar, is now experiencing what that statement means in reality. Accenture recently severed its six-year relationship with the sports star. Now Tag Heuer has removed Woods from its advertising campaigns. Not to mention AT&T, Gilette, and Pepsico.
There is little doubt that each of these companies’ general counsel reviewed its contract with Tiger Woods as regards to his personal behavior — otherwise known as “the morals clause.” The interesting ethical question now is: How could Woods execute the endorsement contracts, knowing there was a morals clause but living a less-than-ethical life off the green?
Now there’s question that Woods’ indiscretions may not just be personal. The other day, news broke that the FBI is investigating one of Woods’ doctors, Dr. Anthony Galea, who was found with human growth hormone in his bag at the U.S.-Canada border in late October. Let’s hope those reports don’t link Woods to further indiscretion.
Whatever happens, certainly, time will heal the open wounds that Woods is now experiencing. And sports enthusiasts will want to see him play golf once again. But I predict his remaining contracts (Nike and Electronic Arts) will either be canceled or lapse over time. The big paydays are likely over.
Every choice has a consequence. For Woods — for all of us. I sure wish Woods had elected a more ethical route. For now, the best I can say is, the choices that Woods makes from this day forward will define the legacy he leaves the golf world and, more importantly, his children. Tiger, make those choices wisely.
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