Hadfield: Tiger Woods Nike ad is, in fact, spot on

Nike's new Tiger Woods ad is making more than a few people cringe.
Nike’s new Tiger Woods ad is making more than a few people cringe.

 

“I am not a role model.”Charles Barkely in a 1993 Nike commercial

 

The first contract I ever signed was an agreement with a Patriots running back named Dave Meggett. I was without an agent and negotiated the terms myself because I was around 11 or 12-years-old, rapidly approaching my teens, yet hardly of age to ink my name to a binding agreement of any authenticity. Good thing, because this particular deal only existed in my consciousness.

Meggett was a Pro-Bowler on the ’96 Patriots squad that lost to the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. I loved him. He could do it all: spell Curtis Martin on third down, catch the ball out of the backfield, and was particularly adept on special teams as a punt returner. Meggett, like many other New England players of that era, fled to New York to join Bill Parcells and the Jets in 1998. After retiring the following season, Meggett was arrested in Toronto, Canada, after authorities said he allegedly assaulted an escort worker after a three-way sexual encounter. Creepy stuff. Most everyone around me shook their heads and denounced Meggett.

I didn’t.

It was then I decided that athletes and I had entered an unspoken treaty with one another. Call it the Bill Clinton Corollary of 1998. The parameters are simple: As far as public figures go, whether it be athletes, actors, musicians, or, to a lesser extent, politicians, I only care about their behavior as it pertains to me. These guys aren’t coming over for Sunday dinner. I’m not catching a movie with them. They aren’t dating my sister. We aren’t friends.

Sports and entertainment is a form of escapism, a chance to get away from real life happenings. In turn, the key figures’ relevancy starts and ends with different thoughts: Are you playing well? How was the latest album you put out? Were you good in the last movie I saw you in? I consciously choose to remember Meggett like I remember Clinton … fondly. As always, there are mitigating circumstances to this conundrum.

Tiger Woods, however, is not a mitigating circumstance.

After reclaiming his spot atop the throne as the world’s No. 1 ranked golfer, Nike came under fire for running an advertisement with a screaming headline alongside Tiger’s image: “Winning Takes Care of Everything.” The spot has obvious callbacks to Woods’ precipitous fall following the reveal of his ignominious marital affairs with multiple women, of all different walks of life, surfacing in November of 2009, and the subsequent divorce from his wife, Elin Nordegren.

The public referendum on Woods was exhausting. I cared, though, because in the invasive world of 2013, we care about these sorts of things. The interest quickly dissipated when Woods’ play on the course suffered, because he was no longer tangentially connected to any significance in the sports world beyond vague questions like whether or not he would become great once again. So, I stopped caring.

Nike ads say the things we all think. From an advertising standpoint, this feels vapid and counterintuitive. After all, the last place a vocation that leverages creativity to obtain originality looks toward is a consensus thought. But what Nike has been doing since 1993 is actually brilliant. The end result in sports is black and white.

Everything that happens in a game is exciting, but when the clock strikes zero and the final whistle blows, you either win or you lose. So sure, “Just Do It” is corny, but it’s also matter of fact. That Barkley ad at the top of the column is crappy, but also true. And Tiger Woods matters again because, when you’re an athlete, winning does, in fact, take care of everything.

 

Follow Metro Boston columnist Ryan Hadfield @Hadfield__



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.