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
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…