Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger & Chevron, A Story Of Substance

Tiger Woods Deserves Your Scrutiny
By Dave Zirin
The Nation

During the Bill Clinton impeachment idiocy of 1998, many on the left said that if Clinton were removed from office, let it be for gutting welfare or for imposing sanctions on Iraq, and not l'affaire Lewinsky.

Today, Tiger Woods, the famous, wealthy and most PR-conscious athlete on earth, finally finds himself subject to scrutiny. But, similar to Clinton's scandal, his scandal has more to do with his personal life than more substantive issues. The media has staked out his Isleworth home for round-the-clock coverage about a bizarre "car accident" this past week involving his wife, a fire hydrant and a golf club. The questions being posed are as breathless as they are weightless: "Were Tiger's facial lacerations the result of the car crash, or an attack from his wife, Elin?" "Is this about the rumored 'other woman' in New York City?" "Did Elin Woods smash the rear of his car with a golf club to rescue Tiger, or was she smashing up the car as he pulled away?" One last question: Who the hell cares? Granted, there is a "man bites dog" aspect to this story. In Woods's roughly fourteen years in the public eye, he has never even been caught littering. His image has been cemented as a man of ungodly intensity.

This squeaky-clean reputation has helped Woods become the richest athlete in history. His career course earnings are $92 million. When you factor in advertisements, corporate appearances and other off-course aspects of "Tiger Inc.," it makes sense that Tiger Woods is America's first athlete to reach billionaire status.

As the saying goes, behind every great fortune is a great crime. Following his car "accident," Woods's agent says it's unclear whether he will attend his foundation's Chevron World Challenge Golf Tournament. In 2008 Chevron entered a five-year relationship with Tiger Woods's foundation under the guise of philanthropy. But if Woods had a shred of social conscience, this partnership never would have existed. Lawsuits have been issued against Chevron for dumping toxic waste all over the planet. Alaska, Canada, Brazil, Angola and California have all accused Chevron of dumping. Even worse, Chevron has a partnership with Burma's ruling military junta on the country's Yadana gas pipeline project, the single greatest source of revenue for the military, estimated at nearly $5 billion since 2000.

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